The amazing image above is currently doing the rounds of the intarweb with the caption “There’s this place in Ireland where every 2 years, the stars line up with this trail on June 10th-June 18th. It’s called the Heaven’s Trail.” Now anybody that knows a bit of astronomy will know this is bogus…there’s no reason it should take two years to line up again – the Earth will be in the same place in its orbit in one year. So I did a bit of digging, and found that it was actually ripped off the 500px.com page of photographer Thomas Zimmer. You can find the original image here, as well as Thomas Zimmer’s own (actual!) description of how it came to be:
It was at the west coast of the island Sylt, North Sea. I was there from 4pm to 8pm. Yes, 4 hours. It was November and sunset was at 4:30pm. It was ice cold, with a heavy wind blowing from the sea. I made several great photos until it was getting dark. There was no moon at this time and later on the milky way appeared in it’s glory. I shot until I was literally unable to use my fingers any more. Stupid me, I forgot my gloves.
Finally, I decided to leave the place. Batteries were nearly empty, I was hungry and frozen. So I packed the camera stuff, and made my way back to the car, which was a long walk in the dark.
At that time it was pitch black. I walked over the dunes and took the wooden stairs down. I took a last look back. An amazing view showed up. The Milky Way was right above the stairs. But I was so exhausted, hungry and cold. I almost wanted to give up, but then I made a last effort, and tried a final shot.
It looked good, but something was missing there. I first tried to light up the stairs with the flashlight. Looked better, but not what I wanted. It needed a human being in the image. Unfortunately, nobody was there for miles except me. So i set up the self timer, fired it and run up the stairs with the flashlight on. On top, I shut off the light and tried to stand still for 30 seconds, the exposure time.
I did not notice that the shutter opened while I was running with the flashlight on. So the final photo had the last stairs illuminated. Later on, in the hotel room, I noticed my fault. But it looked good. The light lead the viewers eye to the small person under the stars. At that time I had the strong feeling that I’ve got something very special.
Shame that it doesn’t seem to be available as a print to buy – would love to be inspired by that image hanging on my wall!