Phil's blog

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 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

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.


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

The Venus and Jupiter Show

In early 2012 I spent nine weeks based in Canada's Yukon Territory on the biggest astronomy and photography adventure I've ever tackled. The primary reason for going all the way up to the Yukon was of course to photograph the northern lights. But the conjunction between Venus and Jupiter in February/March provided a nice sideshow. So consider this a teaser video before I can produce something more from the three and half terabytes of aurora timelapse footage that I captured.


Chasing Aurora in the Yukon: Week 9

Well my nine weeks chasing aurora in the Yukon has come to an end. A happy end.

Here's the (long) final blog for the series, until such a time as I can actually produce a video from my 187,792 image files which take up three and half terabytes of disk space, more than my entire ten year collection of digital images taken prior to this.

Close conjunction of Venus and Jupiter with Orion (left) and Northern Lights, Tombstone Park, Yukon Territory Canada, 15th March 2012
Canon 5DMKII, 24mm lens, five frame panorama each 8 sec, f1.4, ISO800
View on SmugMug


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