Stair­way to pho­tog­ra­phy heaven

Kapi-Mana News - - FEATURE - By KRIS DANDO

Stand­ing alone in a dark, cold Wairarapa field has paid off in spades for Chris Mur­phy. A year ago, the Moon­shine Rd res­i­dent and pho­tog­ra­phy buff metic­u­lously planned his trip out af­ter sun­set.

Us­ing a Nikon D600 and look­ing south, he took three frames at 10, 15 and 20 sec­onds to pho­to­graph the Milky Way.

‘‘It was planned to an ex­tent – you can never be sure about the weather and what sort of night you’ll get,’’ he said.

‘‘But I lucked in with a clear night and a new moon, bit of sun­set still around and those amaz­ing rock for­ma­tions.’’

Af­ter be­ing short­listed in a Carter Ob­ser­va­tory com­pe­ti­tion, Mur­phy sub­mit­ted two pho­tos to the Royal Ob­ser­va­tory As­tron­omy Pho­to­graph of the Year com­pe­ti­tion, based in Lon­don.

Be­ing awarded the Sir Pa­trick Moore Prize for best new­comer for one of his pho­to­graphs, Coastal Stair­ways, was a shock, he said. His sec­ond pho­to­graph was also short­listed.

‘‘I was pretty stoked. It was sur­real, es­pe­cially when you see the qual­ity of some of the stuff that was en­tered.’’

Be­sides be­ing in­cluded on the BBC and other web­sites, his two pho­to­graphs were reprinted in a book.

Mur­phy was at the awards cer­e­mony in Green­wich in Septem­ber.

He has been se­ri­ous about pho­tog­ra­phy for 10 years, around his day job work­ing on light­ing for film and television pro­duc­tion.

His love of as­tron­omy and be­ing stim­u­lated by the work of Welling­ton- based pho­tog­ra­pher Mark Gee– who has also won in­ter­na­tional awards for his work – spurred Mur­phy to get se­ri­ous about shoot­ing the night sky.

New Zealand was blessed with a view of space and the Milky Way that was largely un­spoilt by light pol­lu­tion, Mur­phy said.

He said Welling­ton’s south coast and many places in Wairarapa were fer­tile grounds to get bril­liant night shots.

He hopes to go to other parts of New Zealand and the world to in­dulge his pas­sion and he doesn’t want this award to be his last.

‘‘It has def­i­nitely inspired me to up my game. I’m look­ing to do some­thing spe­cial next time.’’

Win­ning pic: Chris Mur­phy’s amaz­ing pho­to­graph, Coastal Stair­ways, taken in Wairarapa.

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Astropho­tog­ra­pher: Chris Mur­phy plans to push on with his pho­tog­ra­phy of the night sky, af­ter win­ning an in­ter­na­tional award.

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