WPY 2011

Photograph Details

Winner 2011


Stephane Vetter, France

Celestial arch

Stephane took two hours to walk to Creux du Van in western Switzerland, laden with heavy equipment. He had chosen this natural rocky amphitheatre as a grand backdrop to showcase his subject - the Milky Way. The temperature was -15°C (-5°F), but the sky was clear and there was no wind. He set up camp in the dark beside the ravine, his tripod balanced on the edge. 'The sky moves surprisingly quickly,' says Stephane, 'and I needed to be ready for the moment the Milky Way was right above the Creux du Van'. Clouds on the horizon blocked stray light from towns and villages. 'Gazing at the myriad of stars and constellations,' adds Stephane, 'it's fascinating to think that some of that light set off towards Earth millions of years ago'. He took 24 images of the vista. These were then 'stitched' to create a panoramic view, showing the celestial curve of the Milky Way complemented by the terrestrial curve of ancient rock.

Technical specification

Nikon D3 modified with Baader IR cut filter + 24mm f1.4 lens; 20 sec at f1.8; ISO 4000; Bilora C283 tripod + Ninja Nodal 5 panoramic head.

Creux du Van, Switzerland: latitude 46.9327, longitude 6.72199 Creux du Van, Switzerland: latitude 46.9327, longitude 6.72199

Creux du Van, Switzerland

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Stephane Vetter, France

  • Heavenly light show