David Magro Diaries 2018
During 2018 I captured landscapes across Australia in rural and light polluted locations. I met amazing people along the way who now have a passion for night photography from my Masterclass workshops.
I organised 70 Masterclass workshops across Australia photographing stunning locations. There is a lot of planning with night photography with many elements needing to align to capture one photograph.
My goal was to show others that night photograph can be a fun activity that anyone with any skill level can do. We all start somewhere and this dairy shows my journey - I hope to inspire others on their journey.
At the start of the Milky Way season, one of the first Masterclass workshops of the year was at Bateau Bay. After this night I was excited for the year I had planned as I had 65 locations to photograph this year. In light polluted areas you can photograph the Milky Way stars with the night sky emitting a cool tone due to city lights.
Also in March, I was approached the hold an exhibition. After a few meet ups I decided to organise a fund-raiser for the Children Ward at Gosford Hospital. Together with Tommy's Cafe we were able to raise $890 for the Childrens Ward at Gosford Hospital for a fund-raising event donating 1 metre framed photographs of "Field of stars" and "Terrigal Lights". I had always wanted to help the community and I was excited to be able to support a great cause with the help of many people.
During May I begun travelling the Masterclass workshops which were held in Wagga Wagga, Bathurst, Canberra, Dubbo, Tamworth, Orange and Albury. I also had my own locations around the Central Coast I photographed which I want to revisit again.
To mix the night up, steel wool photography is a great way to bring excitement and produce stunning images.
In 2018 I was the Ambassador for Sandisk and Western Digital. In June, I had the first sponsored Masterclass workshop in Sydney and then flew to Queensland teaching night photography in Hervey Bay, Gladstone, Toowoomba, Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg. The Milky Way is only possible on select dates of the year and during the season I am constantly on the move travelling city to city every day.
We broke a Guinness World Record!
I hosted a Star Party with the ABC to break the Guinness World Record for having the most people look at the moon through a telescope simultaneously. It was an amazing night with the community which helped break a World Record together. There was over 40,000 people around Australia participating on this night.
Back to photographing the Milky Way! The Milky Way is best photographed in winter due to our Earth's position relative to the Sun. Plus there is less chance of cloud coverage and less humidity in the air. In July I had workshops in Victoria and the Hunter Valley with amazing locations and another Masterclass for Sandisk.
I placed Terrigal Lights in the Exposure photography exhibition which was displayed with amazing local artists such as Reed Plummer and Max Horncastle. It was displayed for six weeks as an open air display at The Entrance, Terrigal and then Erina Fair Shopping Centre. It also became a large centre piece in Bruce and Rhonda's home.
Andrew Cooney joined me in August to North Queensland assisting and filming the Masterclass workshops. It was fantastic having a friend join me while we photographed the night sky.
Here is a small video Andrew created.
Watch above my head after 20 seconds!
I am experimenting with new camera equipment filming the Milky Way - look close at the meteor above my head.
I have always wanted my own telescope, I can now attach my camera and capture distant nebulas, galaxies, star clusters and much more. There is much to explore on this side of photography and it has been an amazing journey peeking into deep space.
During September I went to Western Australia with 10 Masterclass dates. I have always wanted to photograph Sugarloaf Rock with the Milky Way and with three yearly attempts I have never captured the monolith with the stars due to cloud coverage. On this occasion after earlier being rained on we were able to photograph the Milky Way stars with the iconic Sugarloaf Rock. This was one a brief moment of time when we had clear skies as the clouds continued to roll in. With night photography, you need patience and persistence.
As a bonus, we had amazing green airglow this night.
During September the annual Westpac Helicopter Rescue Ball had a charity event with "Field of Stars" being auctioned on the night. It was sold for $1600 to the owner of McDonald Jones Homes. I missed the event as I was in photographing the stars, but it looked like a fantastic night!
In October the Masterclass workshops took me to Young where I had planned to photograph canola fields with the Milky Way again. The property owner had to cut down the canola before my workshop as it was at it's optimal stage. At times, you have no control of Mother Nature and have to have alternate plans.
I capture a large panorama of the Milky Way with our two nearby galaxies the LMC and SMC, Mars and Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex with a lone standing tree.
Earlier in the year I envisioned a Dinner Under The Stars event in the Hunter Valley which I worked on for 6 months organising. I designed a star inspired dinner event with leading astronomers including Andrew Murrell which sold out with 150 people attending. We had telescopes providing a live feed of the universe including nebulas, star clusters, galaxies and more being broadcast using special camera equipment. Additionally, each person would be photographed with the stars as a commemorative gift.
Unfortunately the weather did not co-operate and it was cancelled. It was a significant financial lose but I am glad I took the risk to organise an event I have dreamt of bringing to everyone. Maybe one day I can do this again.
With the Milky Way Season coming to an end, I had my last Masterclass workshops of the year.
I spent my childhood growing up in Glen Innes and this year I went back to visit the dark skies. This is where my curiosity for the night skies began many years ago and it did not disappoint. For something special, I booked the airport to photograph the stars with airplanes. The Glen Innes Council and Gill was on board and I had a Masterclass with amazing people.
The Milky Way Season was over for the year and my time photographing the stars were coming to an end. I captured a double meteor in a single exposure in the above image. My editing style was more dramatic in this photograph.
I had a fantastic time travelling Australia meeting like minded people and seeing amazing locations along the way. Here is a small clip on a project I am working on with new camera equipment.
After living out of a suitcase, driving hours each day for 7 months I was able to be home on the Central Coast to begin planning 2019. I am looking forward to processing the images from 2018 as I have many new photographs to show you.
In December I was invited on the ABC radio to discus the 2018 Geminids Meteors Shower. We had plenty of laughs as we chatted about some situations I have put myself in when photographing at night.
I had a fantastic time travelling Australia meeting like minded people and seeing amazing locations along the way. After living out of a suitcase, driving hours each day for 7 months andvery late night I was able to be home on the Central Coast to begin planning 2019. I am looking forward to processing the images from 2018 as I have many new photographs to show you.