Speaker 8th November Ken Kennedy, ‘Astro Photography’


Ken Kennedy as a young man was smitten by the night sky. His first attempts at capturing an image of this beautiful manifestation above us was not very successful, not surprising, everyone has to start somewhere. Ken purchased a bellows f8.8 camera, it was primitive, and film was restricted. With a camera propped up and a 2/3 min exposure, the results left a lot to be desired. His first attempt was an image of Arend Roland comet, in 1957. It was an alien environment, cold & dark.

Ken was undaunted and continued to develop and hone his understanding of the science to capture this world above us. With some considerable success in locating and identifying different stars and clusters.

There are a number of elements to overcome when setting out to capture a night image.

  • Clouds, the percentage of opportunities getting smaller with the climate change
  • Light pollution, more so now with LRED street lighting, difficult to filter out
  • Rotation of the earth
  • Unstable atmosphere
  • Faintness of some object
  • How small the subjects are

Ken displayed a wide range of images of the night sky, some his own, others, friends and associates. They were extraordinary in their range, complexity, simplicity, plain and colourful, just like the gamut of the galaxies.

He expressed how many amateur photographers with night telescopes costing as little as £400 are taking amazing images. He encouraged all members to go out and try it themselves, even using a telephoto lens, to capture the moon, the auora, Noctilucent clouds.

This was a fascinating, stimulating and captivating look into the stars, the world of iridium flares, satellites (the vermin of the sky), equatorial mounted telescopes, Messier 31, the Andromeda Galaxy, Triangulum Galaxy and on into the night!