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Milky Way Over the Wolf River

Art & Photography

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Thomas Lemke Photography

Milky Way over the Wolf River has been selected for display in two art shows:
- Landscapes exhibition at Blank Wall Gallery in Athens, Greece
- Photo Midwest 2018 in Madison, Wisconsin (1 of 30 photos selected from over 650 submissions)
This print is signed by photographer Thomas Lemke. In his own words:
Three forces combine to make this image; the river, the night sky and the trees. Summer nights on the Wolf River reveal spectacular views of the galactic core of the Milky Way. A sophisticated camera can gather more light than the human eye and render the stars dramatically. Another camera ability, long exposure time, enabled me to smooth out the rushing river water allowing us to see it as a diaphanous flow. Bridging water and sky is the little copse of trees on the opposing shore. The trees seem to bend in homage to the power of the universe passing above.
Careful planning was key to making this image. I knew I wanted to get the river rapids in the foreground and the galactic core overhead. To get the stars aligned, so to speak, I used two iPad apps. The Photographers Ephemeris provides sunrise and sunset times mashed up with detailed maps so you can figure out where and when to photograph. For fine tuning the position of the Milky Way, Star Guide 6.5 by Fifth Star Labs let's you look at a scene and see just which stars will be above you.
I got into position as the sun set but I knew getting out of the woods after I made the photograph would be no walk in the park. This is the deep, wild, north woods of Wisconsin. The same darkness that reveals beautiful starry skies, makes nighttime forest navigation a challenge. To make matters even more interesting my photo spot was backed by an abysmal swamp. A nasty place to lose your way in the middle of the inky-dark night. I packed two headlamps and a good compass for my walk out.
One of the things I love about photography is its ability to reveal the unseen or the unnoticed that lies all around us. Perhaps my photograph will help people appreciate the wilderness and see the benefit of protecting it.

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