The American West boasts some of the most magnificent landscapes in the United States. Marcin Zając is a Polish-born photographer based in Northern California who splits his time between his career as a software engineer and his pursuit of the perfect shot. From sunrises to midnight skies, Zając captures beautiful vistas in remote, expansive spaces not just in the United States but around the world.
Zając has traveled from Australia to Iceland with his cameras. However, some of his most stunning work was shot closer to his home on the West Coast. His most recent photo of a brilliant Milky Way over the Oregon coast is the perfect example of his nighttime photography skills. In a comment on Reddit, Zając explains the image was taken with a “Nikon D800 and Tamron 24-70 attached to a star tracker which let expose the sky for five minutes without any noticeable trailing of the stars.”
While the Milky Way was visible that evening, it appears much more brilliant in Zając's image. “Modern camera technology paired with long exposure times allows us to capture much more than our eyes can see,” the photographer explained. Creative exposures can also be used in the daytime to capture and blur the motion of water. But whatever the time of day, Zając finds the light to create a stunning image. His work has been shortlisted for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year award organized by Royal Museum Greenwich for the past three years in a row. He also was awarded the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day.
If you're inspired by Zając's work, he has some advice for cultivating your skills. “The main tip I would share is trying to shoot as much as possible during sunrise or sunset,” he tells My Modern Met. “The light during that time is special.” To explore more of Zając's work or purchase prints, check out his website and Instagram.