Dorset’s night sky
Ollie Taylor manages to capture the best of Dorset as light levels fall, as Michael Handy reveals
Published in October ’15
In the old joke about the idiot who plans to fly to the sun he is asked: ‘Aren’t you worried about the heat?’. ‘No,’ he says, ‘we thought of that, so we’re going at night.’
Now whilst trying to take pictures at night is not as foolish as thinking flying to the sun at night precludes being burnt by the rays, for opposite reasons it is still very difficult. Until recently, it was often a choice between getting no image or getting a very poor one.
With the improvements in digital technology – both of cameras and software – it is now easier to capture the miraculous skies above Dorset that greet the insomniacs, shift workers and astrophotographers of the county.
Ollie Taylor is one of the last mentioned and one of the best night photographers to boot. He manages not merely to capture the sweep of what is above us in the sky, but also details of the foreground and background landscapes.
The Milky Way over Man O’ War Bay
A twenty-second exposure of moonrise under the Milky Way over Broad Ope Crane on the Isle of Portland
Entitled ‘the phoenix and the serpent’, this shot of the rebuilt Clavell Tower at its newish position at Kimmeridge is framed by the Milky Way
It is fair to call the above shot a never-to-be-repeated, four-for-the-price-of-one, miracle picture. Firstly it is a picture of the Aurora borealis (the purple tint far left) when visible near Blandford, which hardly ever happens; it also has the milky way arcing above the lights of Blandford Forum itself; for added astronomical interest it also has the discworld shape of the Andromeda galaxy, which can be seen above the solitary cloud, and the whole thing is against a backdrop of medical opium poppies magically in bloom at the correct moment. It was taken with a ten-second exposure at 1.22 in the morning. The day before there had been no aurora, nor the day after, the poppies’ petals were gone in a week.
Despite, or possibly because of, the softness caused by a touch of movement during the fifteen second exposure of a Portland lighthouse by moonlight, there is an almost magical quality about this image
The lights of the Isle of Portland shine out as night falls at Durdle Door. Neither this shot nor the one below really looks as if it was taken at night
Moonlight and sea fog at Church Ope Cove on the Isle of Portland
The Art Asylum Gallery at Brewers Quay in Weymouth displays a permanent exhibition of Ollie’s work, as does the Harbour Lights Bar & Restaurant at Portland Marina, along with The Good Life Cafe on Weymouth Esplanade.