He photographs Mont-Saint-Michel under the Milky Way, a world first

Photographer Camille Niel took a unique photo of Mont-Saint-Michel under the Milky Way at the end of May. Posted a few days ago on his social networks, this shot is the result of precise and meticulous work. He tells us.

“Photography is my job and astrophotography my passion (discipline of astronomy and photography which consists in photographing celestial objects editor’s note). Last summer, I identified Tombelaine (granite islet located in the bay) right in the north of Mont-Saint-Michel. It clicked in my head because the Milky Way is facing south.”explains Camille Niel, the author of the photo.

Friday, June 10, the photographer from Chambéry (Savoie) publishes on his social networks a photo of Mont-Saint-Michel under the Milky Way. Shared, commented on and “liked” thousands of times, the photo and its photographer make the rounds of many media. “I was warned but I am still pleasantly surprised”, admits Camille Niel. He tells us the underside of this shot.

At the start, it is first of all a work of identification, organization, reflection. Last summer he finds his ideal place to grasp the Mont-Saint-Michel, Tombelaine. But Camille Niel realizes that the season is too late to photograph a Milky Way perfectly conforming to the site. He puts aside his project and returns to it in February. He identifies the period of late May, early June to take his picture.

To do so, he needs a guide to help him move around the bay. With the financial support of Attitude Manche and the Mont-Saint-Michel Tourist Office, he met his project in execution and was accompanied by Patrice Trèche, certified guide of the bay.

To succeed in its artistic and logistical challenge, several elements must come together. “A clear cloudless sky, no moon, minimal wind and low tide”, Lists Camille Niel. On May 29, the photographer, accompanied by his guide, set out to cross the bay to Tombelaine. Arrived on site around 10:40 p.m., they had to wait until dark.

“We waited four hours. Around 1:30 a.m. we shifted west until we got a well-activated milky way. We arrived at the right place around 2 a.m. It took me 40 50 minutes to get the picture”, he explains. A panoramic photo, “at 50 millimeters” to pay “to have more details and information, to capture all those realities that the eye cannot see”, Camilla points out. For this photo, 19 shots were necessary.

When I put down the tripod, my heart was beating quite a bit (…) I’m used to it, but now, I’ve been waiting for this for months. No one spoke, I was in my bubble. It was a great relief and a great satisfaction.

Camille Niel, photographer

France 3 Normandy

“Afterwards, we returned under the stars”feet in the sand, says the artist.

The backstage of his adventure is told in this video (source: Attitude Manche)

Launched into professional photography since September 2021, Camille Niel hopes to one day be able to make a living from astrophotography.

The snapshot of Mont-Saint-Saint-Michel under the Milky Way is available for sale on its website. Starting sale price: 80 euros.

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