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Posts tagged with 'astronomy photographer of the year'

Discover the story behind the photograph

30 August 2019 by Matt Smith

We caught up with award-winning astro-photographer Mark McNeill (and his daughter Maisy) when they visited the Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition recently.

Mark’s stunning image, ‘Me versus the Galaxy’ won high commendation in the People and Space category of the competition. Here he tells the story behind this fantastic example of astrophotography.

“When we first arrived (at Sycamore Gap, Northumberland) the moon was in the air, with all sorts of satellites and shooting stars going over. I set my tripod up to do a time-lapse taking a photo every second. I was running up, lighting the tree with a torch to see what it looked like, so it’s actually me you see in the photo, it adds a little bit of scale and tells a story of just how small you are against the Winter Milky Way in the background.

Over the night I must have taken over twenty images of me pointing the torch this way, pointing the torch that way. The first image that I took that I liked was a colour version. I would say that 90% of Milky Way images are colour images so I decided to take the colour away to make it look a little different, more unique.

I posted the image on Twitter and tagged Brian Cox in. He said it was one of the most beautiful images he’d seen and retweeted it. It then went a bit haywire! That’s when I entered the competition. Shortly afterwards I got an email saying one of my images was short-listed, then one saying it was award winning and that I was invited to the award ceremony in London. I was over the moon, really proud!

My favourite from the exhibition is a picture of the sun. Technically, how could someone manage to do that? The effort that goes in to capturing these deep space images… it’s magical.

I would say to anybody that wants to do astrophotography – go somewhere dark, you can buy apps and maps that tell you where’s best – you don’t have to go miles – a tripod isn’t necessary but helps when you take a long exposure, you cant physically hold the camera that still. A normal camera set to manual, even a smartphone can have a good night mode; it doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby.

Moon explorations!

3 July 2019 by Patrick Kiernan

Image of the crescent of the moon

From the Dark Side – László Francsics

“O, swear not by the moon, the fickle moon, the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circle orb…”

Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare)

Think about your living room. The items on a shelf, or a table. How often do you look at them, really look at them?

You know there’s a photo of you and a friend, or there’s a statue that Auntie Edwina gave you tucked in a corner. You know they’re there, but you’re so used to them that you barely give them a second glance. Could you, without looking, describe them? The colours, the pose, the material, or would you have to think really hard? It’s amazing how when we get used to something, we become blasé about it, not giving it a second thought.

We tend to do this with the moon. We know it’s there. Occasionally we might notice it when it’s bright and full, or if a story appears about a ‘super-moon’. How often do you look for it in the daytime? Or when it’s a thin crescent or a half moon? Read more…



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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.