Astronomy photographer Marc Leatham was left a little red in the face after an innocent mix-up over an invite to go shooting. Leatham tells DigitalRev that he’d been heavily involved in astrophotography for the past four years and knew a few friends from church who also had an interest in night photography.
So when asked to attend a bonfire shoot at Four Peaks wilderness, Arizona he didn’t expect the vernacular to suddenly shift to shooting with guns!
After one guy broke out his highly modified assault rifle everyone in the group lit up with excitement, that’s when Leatham realised his error. “When the first shot lit up the desert, my mind started racing,” he said.
While dwelling on the fact that he attended a gun shoot instead of a photography shoot, Leatham noticed the ammunition being used burnt much longer than what was appropriate for the shorter barrel of the rifle. Casting the mistake aside, Leatham grabbed his camera and composed a shot featuring Orion on one side and the observers stacked on the other.
The photograph was taken using a Sony a7 with a 28-70mm lens at f/3. 5, ISO 800, and at a 25 second shutter speed. The first photo was blurry because people were moving, so Leatham showed everyone what he was trying to accomplish and they were blown away. “After that, they were more than willing to hold still for the next one,” he recalls.
“For each shot I told everyone when the exposure was about to start, at which time they would all freeze. Then the rifleman would fire when ready after the shot had begun, and everyone else would stay still till I said the shot had ended. ”
While the photograph was taken in November 2015, it recently resurfaced on Reddit and became a trending topic in the r/pics forum. Leatham is an avid photographer of the upper atmosphere and deep space. To see more of his astrophotography be sure to visit his 500px and Instagram.. digitalrev.com