An exceptional photograph capturing a rare alignment of the moon with the Basilica of Superga’s dome and the tip of Monviso, the highest mountain in the Cottian Alps, has earned Valerio Minato, a photographer from Turin, Italy, the esteemed “Astronomy Picture of the Day” award for Christmas 2023 by NASA.
Valerio Minato had conceived the idea for this unique photo back in 2017 and embarked on a six-year journey to capture the moon perfectly aligned with the Basilica and the mountain. The award-winning shot reflects his dedication to changing perspectives and mastering the art of patience.
In an interview with Corriere Torino, Minato shared his photographic journey, explaining how he explored different vantage points around Turin since 2012. He identified the ideal spot for the shot in 2017, situated between San Raffaele Cimena and Castagneto Po, a 40-minute drive from Turin. Minato’s objective was to frame the Basilica of Superga and Monviso with a celestial body.
To achieve this extraordinary shot, Minato meticulously studied the moon’s phases, horizon position, and weather conditions with precision. He highlighted that the moon, once a year, aligns exactly with the Basilica and the mountain, presenting a crescent appearance illuminated on one side and reflecting ashen light on the other.
Despite facing five years of cloudy weather, Minato’s patience paid off on December 15, just before 7 pm, when he finally captured the perfect shot.
While Minato received praise on social media for showcasing Turin in a unique light, some critics accused him of using photomontages or artificial intelligence. In response, Minato emphasized the importance of technique, patience, and keen observation, asserting that authentic and thoughtful photography can still captivate audiences without relying solely on technology.
His inspiring journey serves as a reminder that dedication, perseverance, and a genuine love for the craft can lead to capturing breathtaking moments that transcend the limits of technology.