The 2018 CWAS AstroFest

"The David Malin Awards"

In July 2018, 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 eight categories:

  • Deep Sky
  • Wide-Field
  • Nightscapes
  • Solar System
  • Animated Sequences:
    • Scientific
    • Aesthetic
  • Themed Section - "Revealing the Colours of the Stars"
  • Junior (18 years old and younger)

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 on 14 July 2018. The dignitaries included Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, Cr Ken Keith (Mayor of Parkes Shire Council), Alan Brightman (General Manager - Sunstudios, Canon Australia), Dr Fred Watson (AAO) and Dr Andrew Jacob (Sydney Observatory).

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 Estore Voucher prizes to the value of $10,000.

Mr Jeff Darmanin, a News Corp. Picture Editor, 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 200,000 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 15 July 2018. A second touring exhibition, organised by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, will travel to selected venues, beginning with Sydney Observatory on 6 September 2018.

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

Click on the images to see the larger versions

The Competition - Category Winners

© Luke Tscharke
Winner: Luke Tscharke

OVERALL WINNER "Crescent Moon at Lake Oberon"

Citation: "This is absolutely beautiful in all respects, to my eye at least, and is one of the finest night-time landscape images I have ever seen. The texture of the foreground and silhouetted outlines of the background hills add to dramatic depth of the scene, and the curved shoreline of the lake and the Milky Way complete a moonlit mountain landscape. Superb!"

© Peter Ward
Winner: Peter Ward
Deep Sky

"E lucevan le stelle"

Citation: "A meandering band of colour appears suspended among the stars, forming the diagonal in this striking image of faint nebulosity. The stars are tiny and the delicate structure in the nebula was captured in a nine-hour exposure, with colours reassembled in the popular "Hubble Palette"."

© Stefan Buda
Winner: Stefan Buda
Solar System

"Colours of Serenity and Tranquillity"

Citation: "I was very impressed with this as a piece of abstract art. This photograph of the lunar surface is a nine-panel mosaic taken near full moon. The flat lighting allows the subtle natural colours to be exaggerated in processing to reveal the Moon's varied chemical composition."

© Tom Elliott
Winner: Tom Elliott

"Barrenjoey Milky Way Arch"

Citation: "A location I'm very familiar with takes on a new identity beneath the stars of the Milky Way. While some of the joins in the 38-image panorama are evident, the overall visual effect is powerful."

© Ian Inverarity
Winner: Ian Inverarity
Theme - "Revealing the Colours of the Stars"

"Old Wagon and Neon Lights"

Citation: "This is a remarkable image, ornamenting a coloured, out of-focus background of star trails with a strongly textured and strangely illuminated foreground. It certainly reveals the star colours clearly, and suggests many other photographic possibilities for this kind of approach."

© Phil Hart
Joint Winner: Phil Hart
Animated Sequences - Aesthetic

"Yukon Aurora"

Citation: "Lovely! The music sets the mood well and is not overpowering. Well chosen and linked footage, beautiful twilight cloud sequences, seen in good and varied locations."

© James Stone
Joint Winner: James Stone
Animated Sequences - Aesthetic

"Cape Bruny Nights"

Citation: "Good stuff! Lively, plenty of variety associated with the theme, visually inventive, well chosen music, crisp editing and a fun ending. What's not to like?!"

The Photo Editor's Choice

© Kamil Sustiak
Winner: Kamil Sustiak
Photo Editor's Choice - judged by Jeff Darmanin

"The Gateway"

Citation: "The strong contrasts, unusual activity and striking composition involving a night-time climber make compelling combination for a news picture editor, suggesting the possibility of an interesting story. Thereby hangs a tale! - Very nice well balanced image with the added difficulty of lighting the foreground while a subject suspends themselves from the rock face. Well done!"

Click on the images to see the larger versions

The Competition - Honorable Mentions

Theme - "Revealing the Colours of the Stars"

© Ian Inverarity

© Saeed Salimpour
"Star Fall on a Drty Landscape"
Ian Inverarity
"Eyes on the Cross"
Saeed Salimpour

© Peter Ward

© Alex Cherney

© Seth Lazar
"Here There Be Treasure"
Peter Ward
"Cosmic Fouetté"
Alex Cherney
"Drover's Rest"
Seth Lazar
Photo Editor's Pick

Solar System

© John Kazanas

© Paul Haese
"The Rings and Belts of Saturn Near Opposition"
John Kazanas
"Seeing is King"
Paul Haese

© Bratislav Curcic

© Peter Ward
"Hidden Forces"
Bratislav Curcic
"Diamond Halo"
Peter Ward

© Phil_Hart

© Dylan O'Donnell
"Teton's Eclipse"
Phil Hart
Dylan O'Donnell
Photo Editor's Pick


© Megan Watson

© Garry McDougall
"Venus Bay #5"
Megan Watson
"GeeHi Hut"
Garry McDougall

© Arwen Dyer

© Eddie Trimarchi

© Alex Cherney
"Moonlit Mountain"
Arwen Dyer
"Full Moon Rising"
Eddie Trimarchi
"Galactic View"
Alex Cherney

© Noeleen Lowndes

© Peter Ward
"The Northern Lights in the Arctic Night"
Noeleen Lowndes
"Snake River Overlook"
Peter Ward


© Greg Priestley

© Greg Priestley
"Sprite and Orion"
Greg Priestley
"Southern Celestial Pole around a Fleurs Radio"
Greg Priestley

© Brad Le Brocque

© Ross Giakoumatos

© Colin Robson

© Stephen Humpleby
"The Diamond Ring"
Brad Le Brocque
"The Pleiades M45"
Ross Giakoumatos
"The Milky Way"
Colin Robson
"Church under
the Milky Way"
Stephen Humpleby
Photo Editor's Pick

Deep Sky

© Uri Abraham

© Uri Abraham
"Space Balloon"
Uri Abraham
"Nebulous Treasures of Sagittarius"
Uri Abraham

© Diego Colonnello

© Andrew Campbell
"Omega Centauri"
Diego Colonnello
"A Mountain of Gas in Puppis"
Andrew Campbell

© Peter Ward

© Greg Bradley
"Silver Dollar Galaxy"
Peter Ward
"NGC 6164"
Greg Bradley
Photo Editor's Pick

Animated Sequences: Aesthetic

(Click on the image to view the video)

© Greg Priestley

© Rod Evans
"Capertee Valley"
Greg Priestley
"Full Moon Rising in Byron Bay"
Rod Evans

© Matthew Maas
"Southern Skies"
Matthew Maas

    Highly Commended - "Total Lunar Eclipse from MBO" by Neil Creek
    Highly Commended - "Under an Aurora" by Gerhard Velaitis

Animated Sequences: Scientific

(Click on the image to view the video)

© Phil Hart
Phil Hart

    Highly Commended - "Orionid Meteor" by Neil Creek

The Presentation Ceremony - 14 July 2018

© John Sarkissian

The AstroFest Guest Speakers at the Presentation.
L-R: Amy Shira Teitel, Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, Prof. Elaine Sadler and Donna Burton.

© Maggi Barnard

L-R: Dr David Malin, Christine Speers (CWAS President), Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell,
Cr Ken Keith (Parkes Mayor) and John Sarkissian.

The winners were presented with the awards by Dr David Malin himself, in the presence of invited dignitaries, during the CWAS AstroFest dinner on 14 July 2018. The dignitaries included the Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, Cr Ken Keith (Mayor of Parkes), Alan Brightman (General Manager of Sunstudios, Canon Australia), Dr Fred Watson, Dr Andrew Jacob (Sydney Observatory), Prof. Elaine Sadler, Amy Shira Teitel, Donna Burton and Christine Speers (President of the CWAS).

The award winners represented entries from every State and Territory of Australia (NSW, Qld, Vic, SA, WA, Tas and ACT). Congratulations to them all.

The overall winner of the 2018 CWAS "David Malin Awards" was Luke Tscharke of Kingston, Tasmania, for his beautiful image of the "Crescent Moon Over Lake Oberon".

The quality of the images was 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, and was officially opened the following day on Sunday, 15 July 2018. This will remain at Parkes for the entire year. The second exhibition is being organised by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences and will tour Australia, beginning with Sydney Observatory on Thursday, 6 September 2018. Last year's exhibitions were a resounding success, with over 200,000 people viewing the exhibitions Australia-wide.

Canon Australia supported the 2018 competition with Estore voucher prizes valued at $10,000. In addition, the exhibition prints were produced using Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 and Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-4000 printers at SUNSTUDIOS.

The Presentations were held in the Coventry Room of Parkes Shire Council's Cultural Centre

The welcoming remarks were made by CWAS President, Christine Speers, followed
by a Civic Reception hosted by Parkes Mayor, Cr Ken Keith.

© Tricia Trim

© Tricia Trim

John Sarkissian introduced Dr David Malin to announce the winners of the 2018 CWAS "David Malin Awards".

© Keith Shortridge

© Trciia Trim

© Donna Burton

© Tricia Trim

© Tricia Trim

The Award Winners

© John Sarkissian

All of the 2018 "David Malin Awards" Winners.
(L-R):Noeleen Lowndes, Colin Robson, Eddie Trimarchi, Kamil Sustiak, Phil Hart, Brad Le Brocque, Dr David Malin, Rod Evans, Peter Ward, Matthew Maas, Tom Elliott, Greg Priestley, Stefan Buda, Alex Cherney,Ian Inverarity, Bratislav Curcic, Megan Watson, Ross Giakoumatos and Uri Abraham

Present but not shown: Saeed Salimpour.
Not Present: Luke Tscharke, James Stone, John Kazanaz, Paul Haese, Arwen Dyer, Garry McDougall, Andrew Campbell and Diego Colonnello.

© John Sarkissian

The category winners with Dr David Malin.
(L-R): Phil Hart, Kamil Sustiak, Peter Ward, Tom Elliott, Dr David Malin, Stefan Buda and Ian Inverarity.

Not Present: Luke Tscharke and James Stone.

Canon Australia Prizes

Mr Alan Brightman, General Manager of Sunstudios, Canon Australia, presented Estore voucher prizes to all of the award winners, in recognition by Canon Australia of the excellence that was judged by Dr David Malin in their work.

© Denis Crute

Astronomy 2019 Calendar by Astrovisuals

The Astronomy 2019 Calendar features the winners of the 2018 CWAS "David Malin Awards". Order here.

The "2019 Australasian Sky Guide" Cover

Dr Andrew Jacob, Curator of Astronomy at Sydney Observatory, announced that the winner of the cover competition for the "2019 Australasian Sky Guide" was the stunning nightscapes image, "Moonlit Mountain", by Arwen Dyer.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Start preparing your astrophotos for the 2019 CWAS "David Malin Awards", and share with the wider public your enthusiasm for the grandeur and beauty of astronomy.

The 2018 CWAS "David Malin Awards" was proudly supported by Canon Australia and

Comments and Enquiries: John Sarkissian of the AstroFest Organising Committee