Babak Tafreshi (@babaktafreshi)

Bio:National Geographic night sky photographer | The World at Night founder @twanight saving natural night skies | Science Journalist | Workshops/Prints:

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Stories

Highlights

Standing on the edge of Wadi Ghul, also known as Oman’s Grand Canyon. On this midnight of March 2016 the moonlight was gently shining on the massive 1000-meter deep feature made by erosion. I was in Jebel Shams area, the highest mountain in the country, where you reach to top of the canyon. #nightphotography #oman #jebelshams #canyon @natgeoimagecollection

There are endless wonders and adventures for those who stay awake to experience the night. Like the explorers of the unseen, stargazers enjoy the view that most people miss while sleeping or spending nights under grey star-free skies of the cities. Photographed last summer on a high Sierra lake, at 3200 m (10,500 ft) in California. I will return to the area June 20-23 for the annual Nightscapes Photo Workshop with @mikeshawphotography. You are welcome to join. Learn more on babaktafreshi.com/workshop (or follow the link in my profile). ⁣ ⁣#saveournightsky #babakworkshops #sierranevada #highsierra @twanight @natgeoimagecollection

Peace is so fragile. Every single moment of it is a fortune. This is a critical time in the Persian Gulf. The US sends massive firepower to the area to counter Iran. This worries me not only for my family and friends in Iran but for the Middle East and the entire world which is not ready for another needless war. ⁣ ⁣Photographed in 2012, the crescent moon and Venus hang above sunrise colors from the island of Qeshm, a unique UNESCO protected natural area, in the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow pass between Iran in the north and UAE and Oman in the south. About 1/5th of the world’s petroleum passes through the strait, making it a very strategic location. The last slide is not from my archive, taken by astronauts on the space station, an amazing moonlit night view of the strait. The military show up in the area is mainly to secure the trade. But what if one side make a simple mistake, an accidental fire. With such a heavy firepower this needs wise leaders to control the situation, which I don’t see in either-side. ⁣ ⁣#persiangulf #straitofhormuz #qeshm #peace

Swipe left to see this panorama of colorful northern lights above the Atlantic coastline in southwest Iceland. We have one (or possibly two) spots opened on Sep 20-30 Aurora PhotoTour. Email me if you are interested (in my profile). Learn about the program on: babaktafreshi.com/sep19 ⁣ ⁣Next aurora photo workshops will be in March and September 2020, to be announced this month. ⁣ ⁣Aurora season begins when nights are dark enough in the Arctic latitudes. Anytime from early September to April is fine. Once you are in far northern latitudes like Iceland and Scandinavia, northern Canada, Alaska, and Siberia, there is no particularly favored place for aurora watching. Anywhere with clear sky, relatively clear northern horizon, and away from city light would be good. Pick a moonless night to see fainter aurora when activity is low. Sometimes you have to wait until midnight to see a better display. Check reliable sources like spaceweather.com or auroraforecast.is for aurora activity. #babakworkshops #auroraborealis #northernlights #nightphotography #astrophotography @twanight

Following my previous post and stories on the rarely captured Red Sprite phenomenon this is a timelapse video of what I experienced near midnight on May 2 in West Texas. An atmospheric puzzle, they are large-scale electrical discharges occurring in clusters above the troposphere, about 50 to 90 kilometers (31–56 miles) high. The video briefly freezes on the sprites moments so you can better see them, therefore they appear similar to the length of time visible in real time but the time between them is ~100 times faster in timelapse otherwise this video would be one hour long! To the naked eye there is no color. They appear as a feature-less flashing patch of grey and most people would miss them unless looking for them patiently. Here the ultrasharp Sigma Art 40mm lens I used at wide open aperture of 1.4 well resolved the details on Nikon D810A camera at high ISO. The video is cropped for IG to give you a closer look. The stunning sprite of the previous post was made with a Sigma 135mm f1.8 telephoto. You find the same sprite near the middle of this timelapose. Soundtrack is a courtesy of @alirainimusic, from their Fragmented Future project. #redsprites #atmospheric #timelapse #twanight @twanight @sigmaphoto

Last few days I was at Texas Star Party to give a talk. Photographed here is a rarely captured phenomenon known as Red Sprite. It has been an atmospheric science puzzle for a long time. These large-scale electrical discharges occur high above thunderstorm clouds and are challenging to capture as they flashes in the sky for a fraction of a second and much fainter than a lightning. The success key to capture the sprites is clear sky and thunderstorm on the horizon at 100-300 km away which was exactly my condition a few nights ago. #redsprites #atmospheric #nightphotography #texasstarparty @natgeoimagecollection @twanight

The last bit of dusk colors over the ocean and moonlight shining on this 2000-meter (6000 ft) high wonderland of La Palma, Canary Islands. Single exposure night photographs like this are very much dependent on timing, understand the ambient light, and the camera’s dynamic range. These full blooming rare giant flowers look otherworldly. They are Echium wildpretii and locally called Tajinaste in Spanish. These 1-3 meters tall plants became almost extinct a few decades ago on this island, by rabbits and human, but now preserved and growing in number. I will return to La Palma May 26 on my annual week-long Astromaster photo workshop during the peak season of these flowers and the rising Milky Way. A medical issue caused one cancellation this week and we have one open spot if someone like to join last-minute. See:⁣ ⁣babaktafreshi.com/lapalma ⁣ ⁣or click profile link and proceed to workshops. ⁣#saveournightsky #babakworkshops #echium #astrophotography #nightphotography #canaryislands @natgeoimagecollection @twanight

Swipe left to see the entire image. The Earth rotation, ever moving the sky above us, naturally paints this 40-minute long exposure (photo sequence) with colorful star trails, reflected on a high Sierra lake in California. I will return to here in June 20-23 for the annual summer workshop on night sky photography and timelapse. You are welcome to join me and @mikeshawphotography in Bishop CA for this concise master class. See:⁣ ⁣babaktafreshi.com/workshop ⁣ ⁣(link in my profile)⁣ ⁣#saveournightsky #astrophotography #nightphotography #photographyworkshop @twanight @natgeoimagecollection

In the remote Racetrack Playa of Death Valley National Park, California, I was standing next to one of the mysterious Sailing Stones, looking up to Sirius, the brightest star of the Earth night sky, and constellation Orion. The faint glow on the horizon is Los Angeles from 190 miles (300 km) away! These moving rocks are a geological phenomenon. They naturally move, up to a mile or two, along this high altitude smooth valley floor on very thin night-time surface ice sheets that are driven by wind. ⁣ ⁣#saveournightsky #deathvalley #twanight @natgeoimagecollection

Swipe left to see this panorama of Arches National Park in a moonless dark night. It’s easy to become acquainted with the beauty, peace, and silence of a natural night. Although it reminds many of dark colorless eerie environment, night reveals a universe that is disconnected from most of us due to light pollution and city life. Search for “World’s Best Stargazing Sites” on natgeo.com for a @natgeo digital story listing my favorite top 10 dark sky locations around the world. Also available here: babaktafreshi.com/media⁣⁣ ⁣⁣#saveournightsky #utah #nationalparks #astrophotography #milkyway #twanight @natgeoimagecollection

In the recent months I offered a custom-designed photo book (album), signed to your name and made of your favorite images. It was a pleasure sending this globally to some of you. Learn more: babaktafreshi.com/book⁣ (click the link in my bio) ⁣Select up to 10 photos for the 60-page on-demand book that also includes some of my iconic photographs. ⁣ ⁣For all other print orders see babaktafreshi.com/print

#EarthDay | Swipe left for the entire view. ⁣ ⁣We are one out of 1 trillion species currently living on Earth, a unique paradise in the harsh space ocean. This is the day that reminds us how fragile is the home planet. ⁣ ⁣In this morning of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Full moon sets at sunrise when hundreds of seabirds flying from their nests in the nearby islands to the city’s seashore. Some of these huge frigatebirds have 2 meters wingspan. ⁣ ⁣#climatechange @natgeoimagecollection @twanight

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