Phil's blog

Comet Hunting in March

Sunday 3rd March

I went back down to Cape Schanck again, but this time rather than heading down to the lighthouse, I stopped on the side of the road looking out over a farm (that I had scoped out on Google Streetview). This is the kind of image I was hoping to capture - I love it when a plan comes together!

Comet C/2011 L4 Panstarrs, Sunday 3rd March 2013, Cape Schanck.
Comet C/2011 L4 Panstarrs, Sunday 3rd March 2013
Five frame panorama with Canon 6D DSLR and 300mm Pentax lens. Each frame 3 secs, f4, ISO800

Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) in February 2013

I've just come back from three nights running a Night Sky Photography Workshop at Lake Eppalock, and while I was supposed to be instructing, I was also very keen to capture some images of Comet Lemmon (and Comet Panstarrs) over the weekend.

The weather continued hot and dry like it has all this Victorian summer, and so while we had largely clear skies at night we were battling a lot of smoke haze (and some high cloud) that made the sky low in the south quite murky (at best) on Friday and Saturday nights. The night of Sunday 17th February 2013 was considerably better, and so I was very pleased to be able to capture this image.

Comet C/2012 F6 Lemmon
Comet C/2012 F6 Lemmon, 17th February 2013
Takahashi Epsilon 160 (530mm, f3.3) and Canon/Astro 40D
100 * 1 minute exposures @ ISO1600

Bioluminescence in the Gippsland Lakes (again)

It's been four years since my first amazing photographic experience with bioluminescence in the Gippsland Lakes, but it has finally made another appearance. These images were taken between the 11th and 16th January 2013, while I was again a Program Director for Camp Cooinda, a voluntary organisation running summer camps for teenagers down at the Lakes.

Solar Eclipse in Queensland: 14th November 2012

Solar Corona during 14th November 2012 Total Eclipse

Even though this total solar eclipse was 3000km from Melbourne, it was still on home territory which meant it was an opportunity too good to miss. So with some friends in the Astronomical Society of Victoria (ASV), I arranged to have a serious amount of astrophotography gear freighted up to Queensland several weeks in advance.

With the eclipse occurring on the morning of Wednesday 14th November, we arrived in Port Douglas the weekend beforehand, just as a big, wet and cloudy weather trough moved through. But the weather settled back into a more normal easterly pattern in the following days, which meant that on eclipse day there was likely be partly cloudy conditions on the coast but good prospects of clear skies inland. So Monday was spent scouting locations inland with James McHugh from the ASV and Russell and Julieanne from Adobe.

After dinner for my partner Karen's birthday on the Tuesday evening, I headed to our chosen site on the Mulligan Highway together with my dad who was keen enough to increase his chances of seeing his first eclipse to sacrifice the comfortable bed in our beach house accommodation.

Valentine's Aurora

It's been a long learning curve, but I'm pleased to have finally released my second timelapse video from my 'Aurora Adventures in the Yukon' earlier this year.

Conjunction Colours

The last few nights have held a lovely conjunction with Mars, Saturn and the bright star Spica forming a striking triangle in the evening sky.

Although Mars and Saturn are not the brightest planets, I was keen to capture an image that would show the colour variation between the orange-red of Mars, pale yellow of Saturn and the brilliant blue of Spica. Hope you like this image I captured as the three set behind some eucalyptus (gum) trees on the evening of Sunday 12th August, while I was running a workshop on the shores of Lake Eppalock, in central Victoria, Australia.

Colourful Conjunction of Saturn (right), Mars and Spica (left). 12th August 2012.
Colourful Conjunction of Saturn (right), Mars and Spica (left): 12th August 2012
Canon 5D mkII, Pentax 300mm lens
20 minute exposure, f5.6, ISO100

Melbourne Moon at the 2012 David Malin Awards

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.


Melbourne Moon

Conjunction at The Dish

At the Central West Astronomical Society's 2012 Astrofest and David Malin Awards. Headed straight out to 'The Dish' on Friday night to setup some gear for the morning conjunction. Of course, who should I bump into but John Sarkissian and Alex Cherney, chatting away waiting for the rain shower to clear.


Click for larger size
Canon 5D Mark II, 35mm lens, 25 sec, f2, ISO800

Mt Niles in the Twilight and Moonlight

These two images of Mt Niles were captured from the Scott Duncan Memorial Hut, on the last and coldest night of the Wapta Traverse Ski Trek in the Canadian Rockies which I did with Yamnuska Mountain Adventures in April 2012.


Click for larger image


Transit of Venus at Sunrise from Leipzig

Transit of Venus behind Communication Tower
Transit of Venus behind Communication Tower, Leipzig: Wednesday 6th June 2012
Canon 5D MarkII, 600mm lens + 2x teleconverter
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