Adrien Mauduit helps us all look back on 2017 as Nature saw it.
As a year full of achievements, challenges, learning, experiences, travels and fun draws to an end, it is time to look back at it and look how far one has come. When I do, I am just stunned by the turns these twelve months have taken. From my unforgettable four years in Denmark that launched my passion for the night sky, I embarked on a journey with the Project PoSSUM studying the mesmerizing and intriguing noctilucent clouds and aeronomy on the North-American continent. I then returned back to my mother land, France, from which I was able to capture unsuspected beauties drowned in ubiquitous light pollution. Not so fast! I can’t forget all the amazing adventures I went on this year.
The first one was one of the very first on my bucket-list before its nature gets too degraded by tourism: Iceland. Its inhabitants are doing such a great job at preserving the island whereas countless busses full of tourists progressively treads on this rather uncharted and mineral territory. Iceland is a land where all the elements meet: fire, ice, light, water, earth, wind…You just need to live it to believe it!
The second one in Malawi, the world’s third poorest country, has more warm hearts to offer than money, turning it into one of the richest countries after all. I had never seen a sky darker than that of Malawi. I still remember staring up for hours in the muggy warm night and contemplate how big and bright our galaxy actually is, and how small and insignificant we are.
My third journey was one in a well-known territory: Canada. As duty called to study the elusive silver-shining clouds of the remote sub-arctic boreal forest of Alberta, I was able to capture such amazing scenes including northern lights, milky way, wildlife, waterfalls, mountains, and of course a lot of smoke from those wildfire. I also got to meet with such generous and welcoming people over there, and I can safely say that Canada holds a special place in my heart.After a rather small period of ‘inactivity’ where I got to visit London (IAPY contest with a shortlist) and Germany (IAP conference on NLC’s), I decided to go back to Iceland. Why? Because I did not get enough northern lights of course. I went especially for that, and Iceland did not disappoint. Three consecutive solar substorms produced the brightest aurorae I had ever seen in the already colorful Fall landscapes.In my quest for astrolapse, I took advantage of this transition year to perfect my technique and develop in a novel field : medium-format and deep-sky astrolapse, which had rarely been done before. I had started before, but I wanted to test out my gear and skills accumulated throughout these four years, so I traveled to La Palma in the Canary Islands, where I was able to capture shots I had never thought possible before with so many details and colors.