After nine weeks in the Yukon earlier this year to photograph the Northern Lights, followed by some extended travels, I finally returned home to the pleasant surprise of winning the overall David Malin Award at the 2012 CWAS Astrofest for an image taken from very close to home, in Williamstown near the centre of Melbourne, Australia.
I was motivated to capture the image above while writing my ebook 'Shooting Stars', as I needed some more Moon shots to show what photographers could achieve with relatively simple camera gear (ie. no telescope). This image is certainly not the most technically challenging night sky image I have ever captured, but there is a bit of work involved in identifying the right time and location to capture moonrise over a particular foreground scene. In this case I used The Photographer's Ephemeris to plan the shot for the evening of 12th November 2011. I got lucky with the weather on the night, with a little bit of high cloud adding atmosphere to the shot and also reducing the brightness of the Moon.
The image was captured with a Canon 5D MarkII DSLR and Pentax 300mm ED IF lens and Canon 1.4x teleconverter. I used LR Enfuse in Lightroom to combine three exposures of 1/4, 0.8 & 2.5 second exposures, all at f8 and ISO100. Below is a black and white version taken around the same time which appeals to me as well.
Details of all the 2012 David Malin Award winners have been published by the Central West Astronomical Society. Several images have also been published online by the Herald Sun and the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Astrofest itself was a very enjoyable weekend, catching up with other photographers and hearing from seriously clever radio-astronomers about their work at 'The Dish' and planning for the Square Kilometre Array, part of which will now be built in Australia.
Congratulations to all the award winners, and thanks to the Central West Astronomical Society for organising the event, David Malin and sponsors Canon Australia, CSIRO and Parkes Shire Council.