The Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2014 shortlist has been announced. Photos can be seen here.
It’s another stunning collection that not only demonstrates terrific technical skill, but great artistry, perfect timing and the ability to visualise and plan a photograph.
Brilliant photos. Going to be very difficult to pick an overall winner.
Very tough to pick a winner out of this lot (though I note this is only part of the shortlist!).
My personal favourite is this one:
… but there are some stunning aurora photographs, which are really difficult to choose between. In my opinion, this is probably the best of them, but there’s not much in it:
I don’t envy them the job of choosing a winner!
Well spotted – I hadn’t noticed that this was just a selection.
I agree on the two you chose. While the Milky Way photo is more like what most people might think an astronomy photograph should look like*, the aurora one is beautifully framed and shows something that will never be seen exactly like that again.
* Actually, the honour of ‘What the public thinks an astronomy photograph looks like’ arguably belongs to this:
What the public thinks an astronomy photograph looks like
That’s probably true, Andy. However, though these pictures are technically brilliant, they leave me slightly cold. I like to see pictures that put our place in the universe in some sort of context.
And I’m not even going to start the debate on whether the colours used in the image are “true” colours or not (hint: they’re not!).
A beautiful picture, yes, and it would be a worthy winner… but these images are not my favourites.
I entirely agree, Mike. I think in an age when almost anyone with the right gear can take a great ‘astronomy’ photograph – not to underestimate the technical skill of that achievement – the photographic standard is so high that I think for the award it needs that extra ‘something’ – artistry, timing, planning, or as you put it, show our place in the universe.
I’m inclined to the aurora photograph, as it combines all those aspects while at the same time showing something that we can all see with our own eyes – but hardly any of us ever do.
There is a very distinct “photoshop perfection” feel to most of these images but man, they are really beautiful and quite epic in their composition and staging which reflects masterful artistry. I love these images, and like Andy, particularly the Aurora ones.
I would love to see some “organic” images in the mix, something minimal in post processing but wonderful in moments of capture and perspective.
I cant wait to see the exhibition of all of these!
My gut feel is that my favourite image (above) is too similar to last year’s winner, so the judges will probably go for something different this year.
Interesting that there are no planetary or solar images amongst the “selected” shortlist… I assume that they must be in the complete list, so I’d be fascinated to see the standard of those in comparison to previous years.
There have been great aurora pictures in all of the previous competitions, going back to 2009, but none have yet won the overall competition. As we’re just past solar maximum, I think this year may be the year for an aurora picture to win!
Tej, I’m with you on this one. There is a mass of post processing in many of these images – but some much less than others. The image of the Occultation of Jupiter by the Moon looks like it has just been sharpened, but I’m not convinced it is strong enough to win. There isn’t an image that captures the “decisive moment”, to paraphrase Cartier-Bresson… which is a shame. I may be slightly biased, but I’m reminded of the image below of the transit of Venus in 2012, taken by Chris Warren at the Flamsteed session on Blackheath, which won the Solar System award that year. A truly decisive moment… a moment never to be repeated… I think perhaps the aurora pictures are the closest to this.
The aurora photo taken by Ole C. Salomonsen is my favourite of the bunch. The curvy, diverging rays really draw you into the photo and are captivating. That, juxtapositioned with the eery bare tree branches makes it a really interesting composition.
I also prefer photos that connect astronomy with the environment around us giving us, as Mike put it, a sense of place in the universe. Think this aurora photo achieves that perfectly.
The aurora photo taken by Ole C. Salomonsen is my favourite of the bunch
Yay! So, I think we’re all agreed… that’s the winner!! 🙂
Have we just appointed ourselves as the Planet X APOTY judging panel? Unseen – but with an influence that great astronomers know is being exerted in the solar system? 😉
Thanks for posting the Transit photo, Mike. Simply, utterly beautiful.
Planet X APOTY panel – perfect! Can we get badges too please (obviously no one other than members of the unseen panel would be able to see them… if that makes sense)?
Looks like quite a few more of the short-listed entries have made it on to the Royal Observatory video about the competition, which has just been released:
It’s not getting any easier!
Got an invite to the award ceremony this evening (this job has to have some perks!), so it’ll be interesting to see if the judges agree with our consensus!
Whatever wins, I hope it’s an image made using equipment that is within the reach of the average amateur. The image which won a couple of years ago required an investment of about £20K+ in equipment!!
Anyway, check out the @ROGAstronomers feed on Twitter this evening for the results as they are announced.
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