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Rising Astrophotography Star

Regulus // Issue 2 // August 2022

More news for Cultural

Astrophotography photograph taken by Thomas Rae that shows the night sky, stars, lake and wider landscape.Head of Photography, Thomas Rae (Year 13), has been recognised as a rising star in landscape and astrophotography by nzphotographer magazine, which recently published a feature article about Thomas and his work. Thomas was encouraged to submit his photography to the magazine by St Andrew’s College Art teacher, Jacqueline Spencer-Macleod.

Thomas says his appreciation for nature, curiosity for the night sky, and his love of art and creativity drives his work. He said in the magazine: “I just love being out exploring the world around us and thinking about our place in the universe. Experiencing the incredible view of our night sky creates a feeling that cannot be replicated. Behind the camera, there is an intense and indescribable sense of awe, wonder, and gratitude.”

The fact that Thomas only got into photography in 2017, and is largely self-taught, makes his achievements even more remarkable. His parents have been a great support, taking him to dark sky locations away from the light pollution of cities, when conditions are favourable, he says.

Thomas has been supported to progress his talents at St Andrew’s. In 2021, Head of Secondary School, Evert van Florenstein, and Teacher in Charge of Academic Extension and Enrichment, Ellen Hampson, encouraged Thomas to join the New Zealand Photographers Association, connect with Mark Gee, an award-winning New Zealand astrophotographer, and investigate mentor support from leading landscape photographer, Tony Bridge. Thomas has had one tutorial with both Mark and Tony. Early in Term 4 2021, Thomas had a well‑received exhibition of his work in The Green Library and Innovation Centre.

His ambitions for his future work are to highlight a strong philosophical and environmental perspective, address issues in the world, and to inspire people to think further about our place in the universe. He is unsure whether his future career will be science or art based, but says photography will continue to be a big part of his life regardless.

Largely self-taught photographer, Thomas Rae (Year 13), sees recognition and success for his incredible astrophotography talent.