QCT contributor’s work on display in the U.S.

Photo: Photo provided by Jay Ouellet

Award-winning photographer Jay Ouellet, frequently contributes photos to the QCT.

Photographer Jay Ouellet last week received the thrill of a lifetime in the form of a letter from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., requesting the use of one of his photos in an upcoming space photo exhibit entitled "Moving Beyond Earth."

The photo in question shows Venus appearing to be in close proximity to the moon, even though in reality, the two spheres are millions of miles apart. The photo was taken in May of 2007 from a location in the Laurentian Mountains between here and Chicoutimi.



  Photo by Jay Ouellet


Ouellet, who lived in Toronto for five years and obtained an education at McGill University in Montreal, said he received a tip that the two would appear relatively close to each other in the night sky. He headed north where the night sky is more clear due to less interference from city lights

"I took this with a telephoto lens," said Ouellet, 54, who was born in the city and grew up in Sillery at a time when a large share of the population there was of Irish descent, "and you can see spikes (around Venus) because the diaphragm (of the camera) has eight overlapping leaves."

For the photo, Ouellet used a high-resolution Canon camera, which he described as "very fast."

The distortion gives the cloudy planet an almost star-like quality.

When he arrived home after shooting the photo, Ouellet, whose interest in photographing the heavens dates back when he received his first camera as youth, immediately sent it to the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, which added it to the agency's archives.

Ouellett, who frequently contributes photos to the Chronicle-Telegraph on a freelance basis, said, "I spent a gazillion hours learning from the top photographers."

This is not Ouellet's first brush with success south of the border. His photo of Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood, was shown continuously one day in 2008 and subsequently appeared in National Geographic.

Here at home, his book Quebec by Night is frequently given out to visiting public officials by Premier Jean Charest when the premier travels.

As for the upcoming show, "They say the project is opening at the end of this year and is going to go on for a year or two years," Ouellet said.