Lóránd Fényes astrophotographer and his faith
Written by: Krisztina Mike
'Exploring the stars, the Universe and the Cosmos. To think about the worlds inside and outside of our Solar System always amazed me.' Lóránd started to explore astronomy when he was a young adult, using astronomer telescope.
'To create one picture' - he continued - 'may take around 20-30 hours, working from approximately 200 photos. Which is why astrophotography is a very special sector of this art. If you start it, you need to dive deep, you have to seriously prepare and you have to choose your theme. You need to think through carefully the whole process. Examining yourself is very important before jumping into astrophotography. Whether you have the patience to work on one picture for long hours or not.'
In the summer of 2013, Lóránd travelled to Namibia. He was planning this expedition for a long time. In this part of Africa, the sky is impressively clear. There are no artificial lights and the astro climate is perfect. This photograph about the Milky Way was taken during his expedition there. He stopped the car under the clear sky, took out his camera and shot the picture. It took 30 seconds exposure. His aim was to show how visible the Milky Way for the naked eyes. The Universe is incredibly colourful. To process it with the naked eyes is impossible. To get the colours of a deep sky picture of the Namibian sky, it takes one to six hours of exposure.
'You may ask, what did I do during this six hours waiting?! When I got out from the car, standing under the huge clear sky, it had a great impact on me. The weight of the magnitude fell on me realising how Great is my God. An experience of faith. When you have this 'Wow' moments in your life, it keeps you going forward.'
He takes the rest of the photos from his home, Piliscsev. It is a small village situated north from Budapest, the capital of Hungary. The sky there is clear and pitch dark, which makes it possible for him to carry on with his passion. The hours he spends with creating one picture are divided to three sections.
The planning fills 10%, creating of image fills 60% and the developing fills 30% of his time.
'I was a normal photographer, taking photos about landscapes, places, nature and people. My dad was the one who was providing me, from my childhood, with the cameras and all the necessary equipments.'
In 2012 he won the category of the best newcomer in the Royal Observatory's Astronomy photographer of the year award, with his photo of the Elephant's Trunk uncoiling from the dusty nebula saw, which he photographed from his garden in Piliscsev.
Lóránd carried on explaining how he found his faith through an empirical path. Astrophotography means relaxing an opportunity to spend more time with God. For him God is not an abstract, elusive thing.
'It is a crucial thing that my faith is not based on crisis situation. It came together with my scepticism. To walk in faith is not easy, it is an everyday fight, in an empiric sense. Searching, researching and exploring. They are present both in astrophotography and in faith. Both territories have their own uncertainties. The process of continuous searching will lead us to receive feedbacks and to find our own centre of our life.'
© Lóránd Fényes
IC1396A Elephant's Trunk Nebula
Choosing a theme to photograph, depending on the season, Lóránd is always looking for a topic, which are visible in their best way in that relevant period. It is important for him, that these deep sky objects, planets or stars are at their high noon, at the highest point of their orbit. He is also aware of the movements of the object. Comparing their movements to sunset, sunrise and lunar phases, they all together frames the timing of the pictures. These things are well known months before the actual shooting, which why he has a year plan.
'When the chosen date is closer, I have to be aware of the cloudiness, humidity, wind and the actual background brightness. On the day itself if everything is ideal, I still have to be prepared for the amount of clarity and placidity in the upper layers, which may cause the flickering of stars and the smearing of the photo. These contents might even so restrain the work.'
The 'spiritual' part of the searching process, as he said, may include the possibility that we have to balance things in our personal life, in our faith. To balance things could be true in astrophotography as well. The attitude of this procedure is the same. There is always a chance that we will end up doubting things and giving more space for potential errors. But the faith, in his point of view, is not something abstract. To practise your faith, is a relationship and very real. He found his peace with God. The only way which led to that was through a personal observation, research, questioning, doubting. Getting to know yourself. Finding the hidden answers. Not waiting for others to tell you what to do, instead start to walk your own path.
'My faith, it investigates, searches and analyses. It is not blind faith. It takes a lot of time and energy. That is why it is more personal and more real. Astrophotography engages my time and my energy in the same sort of way.'
"Searching, researching and exploring. They are present both in astrophotography and in
faith. Both territories have their own uncertainties."