I Have Been Doing Astrophotography For A Few Years Now, Here Are My 50 Best Shots
Hi, my name is Mihail Minkov, and I live in Sofia, Bulgaria, with my wife and our two small children. With so many people across the world unable to spend time outside, I thought 2020 would be the perfect time to share my latest photography project.
Since I was a child, I have always been fascinated by the stars and the night sky. I have dedicated my time to capturing and revealing the secrets of the night sky and the Milky Way, in particular. I have spent countless hours during the night alone, but not lonely under the night sky from February until late October, 2020.
Staying under the stars, the calmness and the solitude that the night gives makes me feel humble and tranquilized. So many people have never seen the Milky Way with their own eyes, which is a pity because standing under the Milky Way arc on a warm summer night is an experience that you will never forget. Thanks to my light-sensitive camera, we can see a level of detail in the night sky that we can’t see with our naked eyes. In addition to what the night sky offers us, I love to add a personal story in the foreground and combine them in one image.
More info: Instagram
Astrophotography is a complex hobby, and you need to take into consideration lots of factors, efforts, and planning to achieve some results. You can’t just go out and shoot. You need to have the right gear, including a good camera and a fast lens. You have to wait for the new moon when the sky is dark enough, travel far away from the city and the light pollution areas, which is a significant problem for night sky observation. Also, you need to wait for the perfect weather conditions—for a clear, cloudless sky. Finding an ideal location, making a good composition, and starting to shoot, spending a few hours under the night sky, alone.
If you are lucky enough to have all these conditions, you will finally have some images to work on, and this is where the real work starts! That is where the post process begins by extracting the details and colors your camera managed to capture. That's the point where photographers add their personal touch, adding their heart and soul into their art.
At this stage, where the secrets from the night sky reveal themselves, and we may appreciate its infinite beauty like Milky Way’s core. Our home galaxy, nebulae, and other fantastic galaxies are only visible for a certain period during the year. Reflect on the wisdom of the stars which have been there long before the human race and will remain long after. If you like my work, follow me on my Instagram page linked above.
I think the most challenging part of the creative process is to have a good idea of an image you want to create, to have a beautiful composition, something that tells a story, something in the foreground that makes the difference. Because the night sky and the Milky Way in particular are the same and will be long after it's all gone. So, what makes the difference is what you put in the foreground. I like to tell stories with my images, always want to inspire and create a positive feeling in the viewer.
What makes me passionate about the work I do is to make the invisible for the human eye visible, thanks to my camera and its light-sensitive sensor. I can capture colors and shapes that are invisible in the dark. So this element of surprise, the WOW factor, still makes me happy every time I press the camera button. This still motivates me to keep shooting and creating.
Tyulenovo arc, Black sea coast of Bulgaria.
I have a list of the locations I want to visit and shoot, also I have a sketchbook where I am drawing some ideas I have for more specific shots, so yes, I have a lot of ideas in my head. Also, I want to visit Atacama, one of the darkest places on earth, with one of the best night skies ever, and I have to find a way to get there.
Additionally, last September, I won runner-up in one of the most prestigious astrophotography competitions in the world, "Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2022", run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, London in the People and Space category, with my image 'Back to the Space Ship'. Also, I was shortlisted with 4 images in total, in two different categories, which is the most of any individual photographer so far in the history of the competition. The selected images have been shared by the most popular and prestigious social media websites, like CNN, BBC, Daily Mail, National Geographic, BBC Science, BBC Sky at Night Magazine, and many others. This is a great honor and an extraordinary recognition of my work. What makes me even prouder is the fact that my footage was shot in one of the most beautiful and dark places in my homeland, Bulgaria.
The bat cave and the Milky Way core.
We are so insignificant in the face of the universe.
Stone forest, Pchelina dam, Bulgaria.
Moon, Saturn, Jupiter and Milky Way core.
Kamen Bryag area, Black sea coast of Bulgaria.
Corona blues, under the night sky.
When the Moon, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter meets under the Milky Way arc
Million star hotel
God connection, a small chapel called St Peter and Pavel near Sofia, Bulgaria.
February 2020, early morning walk for Milky Way shooting.
The wisdom of the stars.
Note: this post originally had 57 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.