I shot this image a week before Christmas at Cape Palliser in New Zealand. It shows the Cape Palliser Lighthouse with the Orion constellation rising in the north east direction behind it. Cape Palliser is part of the proposed International Dark Sky Reserve in the Wairarapa region, and is an amazing place to view and photograph the night sky with little to no light pollution. Even with the lighthouse in frame, you can still capture amazing clarity and detail of the night sky, and although to the naked eye you won’t see all of the colour details that you do see in this photo, it’s still amazing standing under a night sky it such a dark environment.
The Orion constellation itself features various nebulas including M42 - the Orion Nebula. This nebula can be identified with the naked eye as something more than just a star, and with binoculars, you can see it’s clouds of nascent stars, luminous gas, and dust forming the nebula.
The photo itself was captured on a modified DSLR camera and 24mm lens mounted on a celestial tracker to prevent trailing of the stars with the long exposure. The tracker was then turned off when capturing the lighthouse and landscape. Multiple images with the same framing where captured and averaged out to reduce noise and capture additional details. The final result from that process on the landscape and the sky were then composited together to form one image.