Reach for the stars
Jonathan Moya spends late nights and early
mornings revelling in the great outdoors, and
shooting for the stars
MISSION: Blend interesting foregrounds with the
splendour of the night sky
PHOTOGRAPHER: Jonathan Moya
LOCATION: Los Angeles, United States
KIT USED: Nikon D750. Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG
HSM Art, Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC,
iOptron SkyTracker Pro
started taking photographs
because I spend a lot of time
outdoors and wanted
something to do while
camping. A time-lapse of the
night sky over the Atacama Desert, Chile,
by Nicholas Buer was the real catalyst; I
wanted to create images that made me feel
how I felt when I saw that for the first time.
I started with a Nikon D5500, and spent
hours watching videos on photography.
I have upgraded my kit as I’ve progressed,
first the D7100, then the D750 and now the
D850. My Milky Way images improved after
I bought a star tracker. This allows the
shutter to open for up to four minutes with
no trailing, and I’m able to use a lower ISO.
You really only see a few stars in the sky
when living in LA, but this Joshua tree 
is only a few hours away and sits beneath
the darkest skies in the area. I had the
framing in mind before I got there.
I planned to silhouette the tree with lights
from the nearby city of Palm Springs, so
I shot the foreground at 24mm, tracked
the sky at 50mm (to fill more of the frame
with the Milky Way) and blended them.
This one took a few attempts .
I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed
before sunrise! When I finally made it to
the location there were no clouds in the
sky, but then this glow appeared. It lasted
for 10 minutes, and I was able to get a shot
with calm waters around the Queen Mary.
This was taken under Manhattan Beach
Pier  – I went to photograph the sunset,
but was greeted with a dreary sky. I was
about to leave when I decided to throw a
6-stop ND filter on my wide-angle lens.
The result is both haunting and dreamy.
This photo  was taken in Sequoia
National Park, one of my favourite places
to visit. My wife and I found out that a bear
and her cubs had been seen in the area,
which almost kept me from going back at
night. We did end up going to get the shot
(quickly) right as the Milky Way’s core was
in position. Shooting from a low angle
enabled me to surround it with the
silhouettes of the majestic and giant
sequoias. This photo means a lot to me,
because two years later I proposed to my
wife a few feet from the same location.
Camera: Nikon D750
Lens: 24mm f/1.4
Exposure: 15 and 180 secs, f/1.8, ISO800
 Jonathan had the composition
of this shot in mind before he
even arrived at the location.
I found out that a bear and
her cubs had been seen in the
area, which almost kept me
from going back at night