Sailors Capture Spectacular Images of the Changing Skies While at Sea

Santiago Olay's Pictures of the Milky Way while Sailing on a Cargo Ship

Photo: Santiago Olay

From a young age, many of us are captivated by the flickering lights of the night sky that seem just out of our reach. Thanks to amazing photographers like Santiago Olay and JeffHK, we're able to capture a better glimpse of the captivating cosmos. These two bring their love of the skies to the rest of us at home while they're stationed at sea. Olay is a self-proclaimed amateur photographer who works as a deck hand on a cargo ship. “Since joining this tour of duty,” he says, “I started sharing one nice picture a day with my relatives and friends in Spain trying to alleviate the very real sense of confinement we are all feeling due to COVID-19.” Arguably the most breathtaking images he's taken are the wide shots that feature the Milky Way Galaxy in full view.

JeffHK took a different approach when trying to capture these natural wonders. While working on separate cargo ship traveling from the Red Sea to Hong Kong, he captured a breathtaking time-lapse video and uploaded it to his YouTube channel. It was compiled using over 80,000 photos that the sailor had taken over the course of this long trip around the Asian coast. When asked about his experiences filming this project, the artist said, “Sailing in the open ocean is a unique feeling and experience. I hope to capture and share it for everyone to see.”


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A post shared by JeffHK ( on

What’s even more incredible is the hurdles both photographers had to overcome in order to get these crisp and clean images. “When it comes to the Milky Way snaps,” Olay explains, “you have to bear in mind that this is a little bit tricky to capture from a moving ship due to the rolling, yawning, and pitching movements inherent to vessels.” Meanwhile, JeffHK’s time-lapse video shows the challenges Mother Nature’s storms presented to his process. Yet, both artist’s hard work reminds us of the simple beauty of the stars in the sky. You can see more of JeffHK’s work on his YouTube channel and Santiago Olay’s photography on his Instagram.

Check out JeffHK's time-lapse video of his 30-day voyage traveling from the Red Sea to Hong Kong.

Santiago Olay: Instagram | Twitter
JeffHK: Instagram | YouTube

h/t: [PetaPixel, Laughing Squid]

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Megan Cooper

Megan Cooper is a Contributing Writer for My Modern Met and a mid-century historian living in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has received a BSA in Public History from Appalachian State University in 2017 and is currently working towards finishing a Masters in Film and Media Studies through Arizona State University. She is extremely passionate about gender and women's studies and the democratization of cultural knowledge.
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