RCPS Press Report 5th May 2017

On a beautiful, if somewhat chilly night in April, members of Ripon City Photographic Society met Martin Whipp at The Lime Tree Observatory, Grewelthorpe, for what turned out to be an amazing out of this world experience! We discovered the delights of looking up to the heavens, being blessed with a crystal clear night, thanks to the icy blasts of air straight down from the Arctic!

We were there for an introduction to Astrophotography; Martin, along with Rupert and Alan, members of York Astronomical Society, led an amazing, informative evening which covered various aspects of the subject. Guidance on camera settings was imparted in order to ensure we had enough information to enable us go out and practice our photography, as well as giving us pointers for the types of equipment we may need if we wished to continue with this type of photography and to improve our results. Our more bodily needs were also catered for with provision of hot beverages and biscuits!

Martin also shared some of his own photography and time lapse work, which left us open mouthed when we learned how much time he had to dedicate in order to create even a relatively short time lapse film. So somewhat daunted we headed out into the cold night air, however we need not have worried as Martin, Rupert and Alan were more than willing to share their knowledge and point us in the right direction – quite literally at times, in order to get images of constellations and star clusters. Martin showed us around the site as the light was fading so were able to pick out our best spots before the light changed to a shimmering darkness, though we had our red head torches at the ready to help preserve our night vision.

Photographers were immersed in their astrophotography late into the night, despite the wind chill factor, the delight in achieving more detailed night images as the sky darkened was very evident. There were exclamations of ‘Wow, that’s amazing!’ ‘Oh yes!’ ‘That’s so beautiful!’ Even the light pollution on the clouds added to some of our images, as well as painting with light on the standing stones and surrounding trees. I am sure had it not been so cold many would have stayed late into the night wanting to take just one more picture. I think there may be a number of images on our Facebook page following this event.

I think I can speak for all in saying what a magical evening it was and that Martin, Rupert and Alan have definitely inspired us to want to get out there again and discover more about both astronomy and astrophotography. It will definitely brighten the darkness of the long winter nights knowing the mysteries of the night sky are out there waiting to be discovered.

Our next event on the Summer programme is Friday evening May 12th 5.30pm onward at Ripon Racecourse. Whilst Ripon racecourse actively encourage photography and have an annual competition for attendees images, please note flash photography is prohibited as this can upset the horses and any images intended for publication must be firstly approved by their management.

This is a free entry race event and it is likely to be a good opportunity to photograph all the sporting attractions and the attendees. Hope to see you there.