This Night Shot Of Melbourne Won Someone A $1500 Canon Camera

Called "Melbourne Moon", this photo came out as overall winner at this year's Central West Astronomical Society's astrophotography competition. Shot on November 12 of last year, it shows a full moon hovering over the Williamstown dockyards. The photographer, Phil Hart, picked up a Canon 60Da for his troubles, a camera designed specifically for astrophotography.

Speaking with The Age, Hart, who works as an engineer by day, explained how he managed to capture the image:

"I had planned it in advance using an online application that allows you to show what direction moon rise and moon set and sunrise and sunset will occur, so I used that and knew the date that I needed to be there to see the full moon rising," Mr Hart said ... "With long exposures you're getting star trail images that are totally different to the way your eye sees the world at night but in itself is a stunning image. So you're trying to plan and conceive shots that you can't actually see directly whereas daytime photography is completely the opposite," he said.

Below are some more photos from the competition. While Hart's photo is great, I feel like a few of these are as good, if not better. I especially like Mike Salway's photo (top left), showing a person pointing to the sky with the Milky Way Galaxy in the background.

All the photos can be viewed at the competition's website.

Top Image: Phil Hart Other images, clockwise from the top left: Mike Salway, Stephen Mudge, Alex Cherney, Graham Kelaher

[AstroFest 2012, via The Age]


    All the images are awesome, but I do tend to agree that I prefer a few of the other finalists. I'd love to learn how do astro photography like these guys.

    A bit off topic but jesus christ, that is the WORST website I have seen in a long time (


      1998 called, they want their web back.

    Hmmm... seems a little odd to have allowed a manipulated image to win. Unless there's a technique I'm not aware of, the moon always appears significantly smaller in photographs than to the naked eye (a well known phenomena). Any photo I've ever seen with an impressive moon has been manipulated (done it myself actually).
    My guess is the guys a lucky fake, but happy to be corrected.

      You can achieve exactly this with a telephoto lense.

    Great photo. I like it, as a photo, more than the others. But I think all the others are better photos from an astronomical perspective.

      yep - foreshortening will get you there straight out of the camera with enough zoom

    That's not Williamstown, that's Port Melbourne. Could have been taken from Williamstown however, across the river.

    yes Owen.. the pic is taken from Williamstown looking over Port Melbourne. The description given got slightly garbled along the way. There are many fine images in the competition, including others of mine, and so I was (pleasantly) surprised to get the overall award for this one. I'm particularly proud of this timelapse which got a minor award - - and if you want to know how to take these kind of images, then this might help:


    Not so sure about the moon. I've tried something like that before, the moon is actually incredibly bright compared to building lights.

    Bill and CIaoMongolis.. I can assure you the image is not a fake. I had to get a long way from the city buildings to make this shot work. I could barely make out the cranes at the docks from where i was sitting in Williamstown.. it took the magnification provided by a 300mm lens plus 1.4x teleconverter to make the moon and buildings look as big as they are. It is the correct scale for that 420mm focal length.

    the brightness of the moon is also a little hard to balance.. in this case i was helped by catching the moon at extremely low altitude where its brightness is extinguished by thick atmosphere and also helpfully by the thin high clouds you can see in the image. even so, it is still a HDR composite to achieve the dynamic range required.

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