Light up the night

Astrophotographer Sheila Wiwchar shares tips on night sky photography

Photo by Sheila Wiwchar.

Test

When it’s in the right hands, a camera can produce a masterpiece so exquisite that its beauty can only be matched by that of nature. Fortunately, astrophotographer Sheila Wiwchar is passionate about both.

On Jan. 21, Oak Hammock Marsh and Wiwchar will be hosting an astronomy night. Wiwchar will be giving tips on how to capture the beauty of night skies.

“My presentation is really meant to be inspirational to anyone wanting to capture the night sky. Anyone that has a camera will learn something,” said Wiwchar.

“I’ll share lots of tips, tricks, and creative ideas I have learnt by being in the field, from capturing auroras, the Milky Way, and meteor showers.”

Almost a decade ago, the Winnipeg-based photographer’s passion for the night sky and its stars led her into the world of astrophotography.

“I have always been lured by the stars and the mystery behind the night skies,” Wiwchar told the Manitoban.

Wiwchar said that her first forays into astrophotography were sparked by the purchase of a telescope just eight years ago.

“I still remember how seeing Saturn and its rings looked the very first time, and how it made me want to see so much more.”

In a bid to quench her thirst, Wiwchar got herself a high-quality camera and joined some photography groups and associations, including the Winnipeg chapter of the Royal Astronomy Society of Canada (RASC).

She spent years developing her photography skills, while at the same time networking with fellow astrophotographers and making exciting memories.

“I have many amazing memories of my nights under the stars, from being with friends counting meteors from a meteor shower, watching incredible aurora pouring down from the sky unexpectedly, catching the Milky Way rising above an abandoned home you stumbled upon on your own, to seeing incredible treasures show up on your LCD screen of something so far away,” said Wiwchar.

Despite all the fun and good times that are part and parcel of a life gazing at the stars, Wiwchar has had her fair share of challenges with astrophotography. It took her a while to learn about and get used to the ample amount of equipment and gadgets and the multiple tests it takes to find the right spots. She also had to keep up with the dynamics of technology in modern photography.

“Doing nightscapes requires some fairly decent dark skies and some late nights, so travel time and finding time to catch up on sleep when you have two kids and a full time job is always a challenge,” said Wiwchar.

“Processing really requires a creative and flexible mindset, and takes a lot of experimentation to make a successful image. Technologies and methods are increasing so fast and keeping up with the latest information can be tricky.”

Today, Wiwchar has developed a wonderful catalogue and is steadily making a name for herself in the Winnipeg astrophotography community.

 

Visit www.oakhammockmarsh.ca for more information about Astronomy Night.