Clint Conn's Big Rock

We're happy to report (to those who haven't already heard) that Clint Conn (@clintconnphotograghy) has won the Australian Amateur Astrophotography competition. This was run during July on the Australian Amateur Astrophotography Facebook group.

The theme of the competition was "people in astronomy", and entrants were required to include a human in their images, which restricted the competition to astroterrestrial photographs.

Clint's image was taken at Big Rock in the You Yangs, south west of Melbourne. It's a relatively dark area if you don't count Melbourne's light pollution in the north east. This photo was taken pointing a bit south of west, so that wasn't an issue.

The photo itself is of the galactic core, with Scorpio above Clint. That's Antares under his left armpit. If you look closely, you can see a lot of the currently visible nebulas in the photo - from the Cat's Paw and the War and Peace nebulas above Clint to the Lagoon, the Trifid and the Eagle slightly right of middle. A bunch of clusters are visible too, from Ptolemy's Cluster to M23 just below the Trifid.

More technically, the shot was a single 15 second exposure at ISO 4000 and f/2.8 using a Nikon D850 and a 24mm Sigma ART lens. Clint used a self timer to give himself time to sprint up the rock and stand as still as possible while the shutter was open. He thinks the white glow on the south western horizon that silhouetted him was HM Prison Barwon. He also used a small amount of light painting to subtly fill in the rock below him.

Clint has been taking astroterrestrial photographs for several years, but in the last couple he's been getting more seriously into the style. A self-taught photographer, he has developed his skills over time, seeing images on-line and learning techniques from forums.

Aesthetically, I particularly like the way Clint's stance is echoed in the dust lanes above and to the right.

Congratulations, Clint, a well-deserved win for a great image!