Back garden photographer captures stunning images of space

Photographer from Whittlesey moon image

Roger Allpress' shot of the moon earlier this year. - Credit: Roger Allpress

A photographer from the Fens who has captured stunning images of space said he is amazed at the reaction he has received from his work. 

Roger Allpress of Whittlesey has been snapping pictures of galaxies and nebulas, as well as the moon, from his back garden since taking up an interest in astrophotography this year. 

“I am still very new and have lots to learn, but I am very pleased with how things have turned out so far,” he said. 

Due to his interest in astronomy stretching 50 years, Roger decided to learn how to capture different features of space mainly through YouTube videos. 

His latest work includes images of various constellations, such as the Messier (M) 97 Owl Nebula, M51 Whirlpool, M64 Black Eye and M81 Bode galaxies. 

Whirlpool Galaxy Messier catalogue

The M51 Whirlpool Galaxy, taken by Roger Allpress from his back garden. - Credit: Roger Allpress

Bode's Galaxy Whittlesey

M81 Bode's Galaxy captured by Roger Allpress. - Credit: Roger Allpress

“I took those particular photos because the spring is considered to be 'galaxy season' with many such objects readily visible,” Roger said. 

“The majority of the ones I took last week are either in, or close to, the Plough (Ursa Major) constellation which is currently pretty much overhead as darkness falls.   

Hercules Globular Cluster Messier

The M13 Hercules Globular Cluster. - Credit: Roger Allpress

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“It was also moonless last week so there was no moonlight scattered across the sky which interferes with imaging.” 

The Messier catalogue, named after French astronomer Charles Messier, is one of the most renowned list of 110 astronomical deep-sky objects for stargazers in the northern hemisphere. 

Roger uses an Astro CMOS camera to shoot the pictures, which are processed using image editing software Affinity Photo so all the detail within an image is clearly visible. 

The night-time shots were also captured using an Altair Astro 80mm refractor. 

Great Orion Nebula Whittlesey

The Great Orion Nebula captured by Roger Allpress. - Credit: Roger Allpress

M97 Owl Nebula Whittlesey

The M97 Owl Nebula captured by Roger Allpress. - Credit: Roger Allpress

Since sharing his photographs on a local discussion forum on social media, Roger has attracted much praise. 

Although his work has been hailed as “phenomenal” by one, the photographer has been taken aback by the amount of popularity he has gauged. 

“I'm amazed at the reaction,” Roger said.  

“Astronomy doesn't usually get much of a mention outside the obvious TV programmes and people do genuinely seem pleased to look at the photos and have asked for more in the future.   

“From my own perspective, I'm just doing it for my own enjoyment and hopefully as time goes by, I can improve the results I get with experience.” 

Markarian's Chain above Whittlesey

Markarian's Chain, a cluster of deep space galaxies in the constellation of Virgo. - Credit: Roger Allpress

Horsehead Nebula

A Horsehead Nebula captured by Roger Allpress. - Credit: Roger Allpress