Runner-up & honorable mention photo of the 2016 International Earth & Sky Photo Contest
From the photographer: “Climbing to the top of the Santa María Volcano in Guatemala was not easy, specially bringing some sensitive camera equipment and tripod. The rest of my friends went to sleep early, but I wanted so much to capture the Milky Way over the Horizon that I stayed up all night, like every single astrophotographer inlove with the sky. I had to battle strong winds, cold temperature and low oxygen, I really had a hard time trying to cover my self or the the camera from this weather, specially for astrophotos, those where really strong conditions. The goal was to capture the milky way over the volcanic arch in central America, chain that you can see in the left side of the image, but this time I didn’t just want to capture the Milky Way and the Volcanic Chain, I also wanted to capture how bad light pollution is as seeing from above 3700 meters above the sea level. So I capture this breathtaking image to also show the atmosphere layers and where most of the light is captured. On the left side, the light pollution from Guatemala City and Antigua Guatemala next to the erupting Volcán de Fuego and Pacaya, the other cities are Mazatenango and Retahuleu.

Technical details: Sony a7 + tripod – 12 Vertical images / 20 sec / f3.5 @ 29mm (SKY: Iso 4000 Ground: Iso 6400) I use the focus blend technique for the ground (Volcano’s Crater).”


  • Photographer: Sergio Emilio Montúfar Codoñer
  • Location: Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
  • Date: 2015, Feb 28


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