Rising Star

Happy Trails

Nikon Z6 + Sigma 28mm F1.4 Art

with Tom Rae

Tom is a 17-year-old landscape and astrophotographer who captures images of the world around us from the South Island of New Zealand. Being under the night sky gives him an indescribable sense of awe. He hopes his images will inspire others to look up at the night sky and ponder their place in the universe.


Tom, tell us about you and how your photography journey started…

I was first introduced to a camera in 2017, where I mainly took landscape images and edited them in artistic ways. I loved the way you could pretty much create anything you could imagine. After I began my journey with a camera, photography joined with something I've always been fascinated with ever since I was a little kid - the night sky. I find that photographing it is an experience like no other, and it is what I mainly focus on in my work today.

Being in nature and under the night sky is probably my favourite thing about photography. I just love being out exploring, enjoying the world around us and thinking about our place in the universe. Experiencing the incredible view of our night sky creates a feeling that cannot be replicated.

Behind the camera, there is an intense and indescribable sense of awe, wonder, and gratitude. I think my appreciation for nature and curiosity for the night sky, combined with my love for art and creative freedom, drives my motivation. I also love to inspire people through my images by producing the best work I possibly can and showing people what is really out there past the lights of our cities.

Nikon Z6 + Sigma 28mm F1.4 Art.

What are you shooting with?

I am currently shooting with a full-frame mirrorless camera (Nikon Z6) and a number of wide-aperture prime lenses, which I use primarily for astrophotography.

When you shoot long exposure images of the night sky, you can get what’s known as star trailing when the earth rotates in space. To counteract this, I use a star tracker mounted on my tripod to keep the stars still and sharp while shooting with ultra-long exposures, allowing me to shoot longer exposures of the night sky and produce cleaner images.

How did you learn photography?

I have been self-taught ever since I first picked up a camera! There has been a lot of trial and error, but I am happy with my progress so far!

Read the full article by Tom Rae in Issue 56 of NZPhotographer magazine.

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