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I had planned to head out for photography on this night for a few weeks prior, but what I hadn't planned on was the last-minute decision to turn around and head in the opposite direction to a different location. I'm not sure what drew me to this place, maybe it was a “photographer’s hunch,” but I'm very glad I ended up there.

It was quite cold on the hilltops above this Banks Peninsula bay, but I noticed it was surprisingly warm down in the valley after getting out of the vehicle. I then loaded 20 kilos of gear onto my back and started the short hike down to the bay. There was a surreal feeling in the air; being under the beautiful clear winter sky while only wearing a t-shirt at this time of year felt very strange.

I arrived at the beach and began setting up my equatorial tracking mount, aligning it to the SCP (southern celestial pole). This process was especially difficult due to the care needed when working with sensitive mechanical objects around sand. After 45 minutes of mucking around, it was time to power up and start tracking the stars! I flicked the switch. Nothing happened, no power, no glow of the LED light.

Disappointment and shock started to set in. I had jammed and broken the power cable in the pelican case the last time I had been out shooting and not realised. This meant all my work setting up and carrying the heavy load to the bay was for nothing.
The Milky Way was getting higher and my window of opportunity was rapidly closing. I then quickly decided I would stack images for noise reduction, a process that would be a first for me with a multi-row panorama. Tracking allows longer exposures and a lower ISO making for cleaner and better quality images, not being able to do this I instantly thought of stacking images. In short- noise has a random nature, every image has a different pattern, stacking evens this out and gives a nice average.

I began shooting some test shots and noticed something that made me very excited. Bioluminescence! I have wanted to see and capture bioluminescence for a very long time. Each time a wave crashed, the light from the glowing microorganisms would get stronger. It was a truly magical sight.

Later, I would discover that this bioluminescence makes creating stitched photographs much harder to put together because of the changing shape of the light on the waves. However, the extra time it took me to accomplish the stitch was well worth it.

The image is titled Elixir for a few reasons. First, the water was like a magic potion stirring these creatures up. Second, photography and getting out under the stars is a kind of elixir and medicine for me, a meditation and therapy while standing under the vast night sky.

Printed on the worlds best 300gsm Ultra Pearlescent Hi-White with the state of the art Canon Pro-1000!
Heavy photographic weight, with an improved sheen level and pronounced pearl texture finish. Ultra white base for clean whites. Scratch resistant resin coat surface.

Please note: Some images may be slightly cropped for print dimension purposes