Posted by on May 4, 2018 in Main |

Society secretary Dominic Curran welcomes Mr Collins to Keighley Astronomical Society

The guest speaker at the April meeting of Keighley astronomical society was Mr Peter Collins from Heaton Park Astronomy group in Manchester.

Mr Colins introduced his presentation by explaining that he had a lifelong interest in both astronomy and photography. He explained that it’s only been since he discovered a few years ago just what digital photography could achieve with astronomical subjects compared to using film cameras that he started to put the two interests together.

An example of his work ‘Orion above Ingleborough’

Although he first started imaging astronomical subjects with a digital SLR camera through a telescope and was reasonably satisfied with the results, he soon came to realise that what really inspired him was the interplay between our earthly landscape and the night sky. That’s when he started to seek out interesting natural and man-made foregrounds to set against a backdrop of starry skies.

Mr Collins explained he spends a lot of time planning his shots by looking at ordinance survey maps, visiting potential locations during the daytime, checking compass bearings, checking planetarium software to see what’s in the night sky and in the right position at a particular time and date, checking the moon phase, and not least checking the weather forecast for clear skies!

Ribblehead railway viaduct

Most of his nightscape imaging so far has been in the Yorkshire Dales, with their combination of breath-taking landscapes and dark skies free from light pollution. He visits other areas as and when he can.

The singing ringing tree

Some of Mr Collins work has been published in astronomy magazines as well as the Yorkshire Post magazine. The inspiration for his website name ‘Dimond Skies’ comes from a line in one of his favourite song lyrics- Mr Tambourine Man by Bob Dylan.

Fog at Ribblehead

Hey! Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you
And take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time
Far past the frozen leaves
The haunted frightened trees
Out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky
With one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea
Circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate
Driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow