An all-star cast! Night skies around the world, from Iran to California, captured in stunning photographs (with some taking A YEAR to plan)
Gorgeous images of night skies around the world have been captured by photographer Morteza Safataj – and some of the sensational snaps took a year to plan. Safataj has shot photos across Iran and scouted the perfect Milky Way locations to make the night sky pop across national parks in Texas, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico and California . Originally from Iran but now a US citizen, Safataj creates and balances shadows in the foregrounds of his photos, which make the backdrop of the starry skies seem all the more theatrical.
Moment of reflection: Gorgeous views of night skies around the world have been captured by photographer Morteza Safataj. The skilled photographer can be seen in the foreground of this shot, taken in Arizona.
Pictured: The Milky Way over a field of Texas wildflowers.
Pictured: A stunning capture of Joshua Trees in California taken while Safataj was on a road trip.
A long-exposure shot of the night sky above a valley close to the city of The Dalles in Oregon. Safataj’s friend drove his truck on the highway four times in order to get the perfect shot of the car-light trace.
Strike a pose: One of Safataj’s friends does a spot of late-night yoga amid a unique rock formation in the Bisti Badlands in New Mexico with the Milky Way shimmering above.
A stunning composition of the night sky, in which the Milky Way and the moon can be seen, taken at Big Bend National Park in Texas.
Golden shot: The Milky Way puts on an incredible show over a salt lake between the provinces of East and West Azerbaijan in Iran.
This shot was taken at Badab-e Surt, Iran’s terraced hot springs. Safataj says of his night sky photography: ‘With today’s technology we are able to capture night sceneries that we would never see with the naked eye’.
A local photographer drove this dirt road in the Valley of the Gods, Utah, to allow Safataj to shoot the vehicle’s bright lights and add another magical element to the scene.
Safataj ventured out to snap a starry night sky in Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, after a fresh blanket of snow.
Safataj often shoots at Big Bend National Park in Texas, which he has called one of the ‘largest, darkest, most remote parks’. Here the Milky Way really comes alive.
Pictured: The Milky Way over Mount Sabalan, an inactive stratovolcano in Iran.
A windmill silhouetted against a glittering night sky at Big Bend National Park in Texas. Safataj says of his work: ‘Combining technology with my artistic vision enabled me to show the beauty of our planet earth under the Milky Way galaxy that most people won’t get a chance to see’.
Along with night skies, weddings are another one of Safataj’s specialities – he runs a wedding photography business. Pictured, a long-exposure photo taken at Big Bend National Park in Texas.
It’s not always stars and galaxies. Safataj snapped this electrifying thunderstorm over Lake Urmia in Iran.
The ultimate selfie: Safataj shot this mesmerizing self-portrait while exploring Vedauwoo, an area of unique rock formations located in southeastern Wyoming.
The night sky glitters above the Rio Grande River at Big Bend National Park in Texas, while Safataj can be seen setting up his photography gear.
These cross-shaped silhouettes make for a haunting photo at Terlingua Cemetery in West Texas.
The 34-year-old photographer says the challenge of shooting in the dark is what drives him.