Amateurs excel in the 2022 David Malin astrophotography awards
Named after world-renowned photographer and astronomer David Malin, the Southern Hemisphere’s most prestigious amateur astrophotography competition conducted by the Central West Astronomical Society (CWAS) has delivered a stellar collection of images celebrating everything from stunning deep space snaps to more earthbound nightscapes.
Across the 1970s and 1980s, David Malin pioneered a number of processing techniques that enhanced the field of astrophotography. Before computers, or digital sensors, Malin’s three-color wide field images of deep space objects were some of the most extraordinary galactic images anyone had ever captured.
His namesake photography contest, The David Malin Awards, has been running for around 20 years and this year spanned eight categories: Deep Sky, Wide-Field, Nightscapes, Solar System, Animated Sequences, Junior (under 18s), a special themed category looking at Alignments, and for the first time a dedicated Smartphone Astrophotography category.
The top prize this year went to a shot from mechanical engineer Ian Inverarity. The shot captured a gorgeous Australian gum tree, with fog looming in the background and the Milky Way framing it all.
Malin, who chooses the overall top winner after an expert judging panel selects the category winners, said it is incredible watching technology advance so quickly, allowing anyone to become an astrophotographer.
"This year has included the most marvellous array of pictures I've ever seen," Malin said to Australia’s ABC News. "Most of my tech was in a dark room, using chemicals and plates.”
Winning the competition's first Smartphone category prize was Lucy Yunxi Hu. Capturing an incredible look at the stars with a dead tree in the foreground, the judging panel particularly noted the skill it took to get this image using just a smartphone.
"This is the best effort I have seen of a tracked image on a smartphone," the judges noted. "While the resolution is relatively poor, as you might expect, the colors are very well captured, and an interesting foreground is well lit."
Take a look through our gallery at more pics from this year's spectacular set of winners.