The 2014 CWAS AstroFest

"The David Malin Awards"

In July 2014, the Central West Astronomical Society's astrophotography competition was held again as part of the CWAS AstroFest. Amateur astronomers and photographers from around Australia were invited to take part in the exhibition and to submit their astrophotographs for consideration in the prestigious "David Malin Awards".

This year's competition had seven categories:

  • Deep Sky
  • Wide-Field
  • Solar System:
    • Hires (< 30')
    • Wide-Field (> 30')
  • Animated Sequences:
    • Scientific
    • Aesthetic
  • Themed Section - "The Moon"

The photographs were judged by world-renowned astrophotographer, Dr David Malin, without David being aware of the identity of the photographers. The winners were presented with the "David Malin Awards" in the presence of invited dignitaries, during the CWAS AstroFest conference dinner on 19 July 2014.

It was not just technical skill that was awarded. The prizes went to pictures that captured the beauty of the sky and the intrinsic interest of astronomy in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Canon Australia supported the competition with prizes to the value of over $18,000.

Mr Steve Grove, the News Corp. Photographic Manager, judged the "Photo Editor's Choice" awards and gave his pick from each category. His overall winner was awarded the Photo Editor's Choice Award.

Last year's exhibitions were a resounding success. The two parallel exhibitions were viewed by over 234,000 people Australia-wide.

This year's permanent exhibition will be on show at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory's Visitor's Centre for one year from 20 July 2014. A second touring exhibition, organised by the Powerhouse Museum, will travel to selected venues, beginning with Sydney Observatory on 13 August 2014.

To have received any one of these awards is a great honour. Congratulations!

The Competition - Category Winners

© Paul Haese
Winner: Paul Haese
Deep Sky


Citation: "I think this is the best true-colour image of the Orion Nebula I have seen for a long time. It has everything. The basics are well covered by a realistic-looking colour balance and the dynamic range, which makes the heart of the nebula look brighter than everything else, which is as it should be. But the other things are right too, including the delicate, faint nebulosity that fills the field and the careful handling of the bright stars, which don't dominate the image. Fantastic!"

© Phil Hart
Winner: Phil Hart

"Dusty Heart of the Milky Way"

Citation: "This is a perfectly simple rendition of the Milky Way using an off-the-shelf camera and a standard 50mm lens. However, the quality of the result is outstanding, especially the colour balace and stunning detail. Beautiful!"

© Stefan Buda
Winner: Stefan Buda
Solar System - Hires

"Mars 2014"

Citation: "Intriguing composition of a series of excellent images of Mars over several months, all of them showing fine resolution and the obvious change in the diameter of the planet with distance. Excellent!"

© Paul Haese
Winner: Paul Haese
Solar System - Wide-Field

  Photo Editor's Pick

Citation: "This is a stunning image in all respects, and shows the active Sun and large prominence on the limb. A lot of effort and specialised knowledge goes into making images of this quality, and this is a superb example of an arcane art."

© Phil Hart
Winner: Phil Hart
Theme - "The Moon"

"Marine Moonset"

Citation: "This is a striking image that has a quite painterly quality. The careful cropping and a soft and gentle light, makes the photograph look like an art work."

© Peter Ward
Winner: Peter Ward
Animated Sequences - Scientific

"Shine On"

Citation: "Very beautiful and informative high resolution, time-lapse footage of the Sun in H-alpha light, carefully edited and very effectively set to music by Pink Floyd."

© Alex Cherney
Winner: Alex Cherney
Animated Sequences - Aesthetic

"Dance of the Dishes"

Citation: "Very smoothly edited and professional-looking sequences of the ATCA telescopes at work, and I especially like the fish-eye sequences of the dishes nodding at each other as they scan the Milky Way. Great stuff!"

The News Corp. Photo Editor's Choice

© David Fitz-Henry
Winner: David Fitz-Henry
Photo Editor's Choice - Judged by Steve Grove

"The Horsehead and Flame Nebulas"

Citation: "This image contains all the elements of an intriguing photograph - splendour, mystery and drama. It's one that takes the average observer into what is truly the beauty of deep space."

The Competition - Honorable Mentions

Deep Sky

© Stefan Buda

© Steve Crouch

© Marcus Davies
"The Witch Head Nebula"
Stefan Buda
"47 Tucanae"
Steve Crouch
"The Trifid
Marcus Davies

© Phil Hart

© Erik Monteith
"Rho Ophiuchi Region"
Phil Hart
"The Eagle and the Pillars of Creation"
Erik Monteith


© Julie Fletcher

© Greg Gibbs

© Grahame Kelaher
"Pathway of Light"
Julie Fletcher
Greg Gibbs
"Venus and Zodiacal Glow"
Grahame Kelaher

© Michael Goh

© Stephen Humpleby
Michael Goh
"London Bridge Stars"
Stephen Humpleby

Solar System - Hires

© Stefan Buda

© Russell Cockman
"Colours of Copernicus"
Stefan Buda
"Annular Eclipse - Baily's Beads"
Russell Cockman

© Bratislav Curcic

© David Hough

© David Hough
Bratislav Curcic
  Photo Editor's Pick
David Hough
"White Light Sunspot AR11967"
David Hough

Solar System - Wide-Field

© David Hough

© Robert Kaufman
"Full Disk H-alpha Sol"
David Hough
"A Date with the Sun"
Robert Kaufman

© Stephen Mudge

© Andrew Wall

© Peter Ward
"Partial Solar Eclipse Sunset Series"
Stephen Mudge
"April 29th 2014, Partial Solar Eclipse Setting"
Andrew Wall
"Selenic Construction"
Peter Ward

Theme - "The Moon"

© Judith Conning

© Brad Le Brocque

© Phil Hart
"Greenland Moon"
Judith Conning
"Moonrise over Darling Harbour"
Brad Ler Brocque
"St. Kilda Moonset"
Phil Hart

© Saeed Salimpour

© Saeed Salimpour
"Luna in the Clouds"
Saeed Salimpour
"Scorpio in Luna's Halo"
Saeed Salimpour

Animated Sequences: Scientific

(Click on images to view videos)

© Alex Cherney

© Phil Hart
"Occultation of Saturn by the Moon"
Alex Cherney
"Eta Aquarids"
Phil Hart

© Peter Ward
"Solar Maximum"
Peter Ward

Animated Sequences: Aesthetic

(Click on images to view videos)

© Paul Haese

© Phil Hart
Paul Haese
"Smoke Dust Water"
Phil Hart

© Greg Priestley

© Mike Salway

© Matthew Vandeputte
Greg Priestley
"Nightscape Adventures in Coona and Narrabri"
Mike Salway
"The DISH"
Matthew Vandeputte

The Presentation Ceremony - 19 July 2014

The winners were presented with the awards by Dr David Malin himself, in the presence of invited dignitaries, during the CWAS AstroFest dinner on 19 July 2014. The dignitaries included the Mayor of Parkes, Cr Ken Keith; Prof. Warrick Couch, Director of the AAO; Mr Alan Brightman of Canon Australia; and Paul Clark, President of the CWAS.

The award winners represented entries from across Australia (NSW, Qld, Vic, SA, WA and ACT). Congratulations to them all.

The overall winner of the 2014 CWAS "David Malin Awards" was Paul Haese of Adelaide, SA, for his beautiful image of the Great Nebula in Orion, "Dust and Gas".

The quality of the images was of an incredibly high standard and a testament to the great skill and talent of Australian astrophotographers.

The very finest images will be exhibited in two parallel exhibitions. The first is at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory's Visitors Centre, which officially opened the following day on Sunday, 20 July 2014. This will remain at Parkes for the entire year. The second exhibition is being organised by the Powerhouse Museum and will tour Australia, beginning with Sydney Observatory in Wednesday, 13 August 2014. Last year's exhibitions were a resounding success, with over 234,000 people viewing the exhibitions Australia-wide.

Canon Australia supported the 2014 competition with significant camera equipment to the value of over $18,000. Prizes included an EOS 5D Mark III high-performance DSLR with an EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens for the overall winner, a premium PowerShot G1X for the category winners and a PowerShot S200 for each of the many honourable mentions. In addition, the exhibition prints were made using a Canon Pro 1 printer at SUNSTUDIOS.

The Galileo Trophies and Canon Prizes waiting to be presented.

© John Sarkissian

© John Sarkissian

The Award Winners

© John Sarkissian

All of the 2014 "David Malin Awards" Winners.
(Back L-R): Bratislav Curcic, Gillian Kelaher (representing her son Grahame), Mike Salway, Stefan Buda, Peter Ward, David Malin, Paul Haese, Alex Cherney, Greg Gibbs, David Fitz-Henry, Saeed Salimpour, Steve Crouch
(Front L-R): Marcus Davies, Robert Kaufman, Andrew Wall, Greg Priestley, Brad Le Brocque, Phil Hart, Judith Conning. Not Present: David Hough,Stephen Mudge, Russell Cockman, Julie Fletcher, Michael Goh, Stephen Humpleby, Grahame Kelaher, Erik Monteith, Matthew Vandeputte.

© John Sarkissian

The category winners with Dr David Malin.
(L-R): Stefan Buda, Peter Ward, David Malin, Paul Haese, Alex Cherney, Phil Hart, David Fitz-Henry.


© John Sarkissian

© John Sarkissian

Paul with his Prizes and Trophies

Canon Australia Prizes

Mr Alan Brightman, representing Canon Australia, presented prizes to the award winners, in recognition by Canon Australia of the excellence that was judged by Dr David Malin in their work.

The Overall Winner received a EOS 5D Mark III high-performance DSLR with an EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens.
The category winners each received a premium PowerShot G1X.
The honourable mentions each received a PowerShot S200.

© John Sarkissian
With Alan Brightman from Canon Australia

Canon Australia Videos on Astrophotography

Space timelapse and long exposure photography with Matthew Vandeputte
How to take great Astrophotography and night sky photography tutorial with Phil Hart
Photography tutorial: How to use star mode in Canon compact cameras with Phil Hart

Congratulations to all the winners!

Start preparing your astrophotos for the 2015 CWAS "David Malin Awards", and share with the wider public your enthusiasm for the grandeur and beauty of astronomy.

The 2014 CWAS "David Malin Awards" was proudly supported by Canon Australia and

Comments and Enquiries: John Sarkissian of the AstroFest Organising Committee