April. Nicolas Martino turns the lens towards the stars

The stars are above all a childhood memory for Nicolas Martino. “I would watch them with my parents. I always like this nocturnal serenity,” confides the 30-year-old. Today, it is an all-consuming passion that drives him and pushes him to make dazzling progress in photography.

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Once upon a time there was Lapland

It all started with a trip to Lapland in 2015. “That day I really got a slap in the face! To see the purity of the sky and these stars, it was crazy. I had my father’s camera with me, a Canon 1100D and a tripod. I took incredible pictures of the stars without trying to do astronomical photography,” explains the young man, originally from Algrange.

Back home, starry-eyed, he experimented with astrophotography. “I was equipped with a small bracket and I managed to take my first pictures of the Andromeda Galaxy and the North America Nebula. The result was not crazy, but for me it was a first feeling. Since then it’s an addiction! », smiles the photographer. “I thought the world of astronomical photography was inaccessible. Actually no! »

First photo in the scientific press

A quality engineer in the automotive industry, Nicolas Martino finds himself locked in 2020. A blessing to follow tutorials and progress with dazzling. “I invested in equipment, especially an equatorial mount. This compensates for the Earth’s rotation. When you take this kind of photo, the pause time is 5 to 10 minutes. Without it, the stars look like white lines. »

For fun, he sends one of his “first real successes” to the magazine Astronomy. Two pages are reserved in the monthly magazine for the most beautiful pictures by amateur photographers. “This is the image of the nebula Sh2-119 in the constellation Cygnus. To achieve it, it took me 20 hours of photography and 15 hours of computer processing. “His dream? Discover an undiscovered element of heaven and name it after his father, as a posthumous tribute.

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Next challenge: raising awareness of nighttime pollution

His taste for nocturnal observation has made his eye sensitive to light pollution induced by street lights. Today, Nicolas Martino is convinced of the harmfulness of artificial lighting and wants to go further. “I recently learned that 80% of the French have never seen dark skies! We now know that this has consequences for global warming, wildlife and also for our health. “The activist has already managed to turn off the lights in his town in a short week, the time to observe the Perseids…” That’s already it! »

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