[Starry Story] Earl Mallia (Malta)
[Starry Story] Earl Mallia (Malta)
Credit: Earl Mallia
I'm Earl Mallia, a Landscape & Astrophotographer based in the beautiful country of Malta, nestled in Europe. Photography, for me, is more than just a hobby; it's a lifelong passion that has added profound depth to my existence.
My journey into the world of photography began in 2015 when I acquired my first camera. It was as if I had finally discovered the missing piece of the puzzle that would forever change the way I saw the world. From that moment onwards, I embarked on a transformative photographic odyssey.
My initial fascination led me to experiment with long exposure photography, a technique that allowed me to capture time in a single frame. But soon, I found myself drawn to the allure of landscapes and seascapes. These majestic vistas became my canvas, and through my lens, I endeavoured to document and convey the emotional essence of those fleeting moments in time.
My childhood wonder for the wilderness and the celestial wonders above was a flame that never extinguished. In the 1980s, like so many others, I avidly watched Carl Sagan's program 'COSMOS,' which left an indelible mark on my soul. It was a true wellspring of inspiration.
The connection I feel with the universe, especially under the vast star-studded canopy of the night sky, is something primal and profound. It's a connection that transcends words, an inexplicable bond that seems to resonate within all of us. When I venture into the wild, under the cloak of darkness, I experience that direct connection with the cosmos, and it's an extraordinary sensation.
Being outdoors, surrounded by nature's raw beauty, instills in me a sense of awe and reverence. The sheer power and majesty of the natural world are humbling and inspiring. It's as though I can glimpse the very soul of our planet.
Conversely, when I gaze upon the night sky, I'm enveloped in a sense of wonder and mystery. The vastness of the universe dwarfs our existence, and it's a profound reminder of how small we are in the grand scheme of things. Yet, it's this very mystery that keeps me motivated to venture out and capture the celestial wonders above. The night sky is a treasure trove of mystical elements, and the feeling it evokes within me is indescribable.
Photography, to me, is more than just capturing moments it's a way of actively participating in the ongoing story of the world. It's a means of translating the profound beauty and mystery I encounter into images that can be shared and appreciated by others. Through my lens, I become a storyteller, inviting viewers to join me on a visual journey into the heart of nature and the cosmos.
Back in the days, photography equipment was expensive and inaccessible, but today, increased competition has made high-quality gear more affordable and manageable for photographers, democratizing the art and enabling more people to pursue their passion. This shift has enriched the photography community and allowed for greater creative exploration.
And my journey started in 2017 with my first tracking mount The Sky Watcher Star adventurer.
Living in Malta, an island in the middle of the Mediterranean, presents unique challenges for astrophotography due to the prevalent issue of light pollution. In this stunning island nation, where urban development and city lights are a part of daily life, finding suitable spots for capturing clear and mesmerizing images of the night sky can be a real challenge.
As I've continued my journey in astrophotography within the light-polluted surroundings of Malta, I've learned the importance of careful planning. It involves scouting for dark locations, making daytime visits to these spots, and timing my shoots during celestial events and also I've come to realize the importance of not only meticulous planning but also a deep understanding the potential of my equipment . Equipped with the right gear and a good deal of patience, I'm able to capture captivating night sky images, despite the challenges posed by light pollution.
►Optolong L-Pro a Big Turning point
In 2019, a pivotal moment in my astrophotography journey occurred when I undertook modification to my Canon 550D DSLR camera. This modification marked a significant turning point, greatly enhancing the camera's sensitivity to celestial wonders. However, despite this substantial improvement, I continued to grapple with the formidable adversary of light pollution.
In my relentless pursuit of pristine night sky imagery, I embarked on a quest to conquer the light pollution challenge. I delved into a series of experiments with different types of filters, each holding the promise of alleviating the impact of this luminous interference. Yet, despite my efforts, I found myself seeking the elusive solution to achieve the optimal results I desired.
Meanwhile, I had always aspired to possess a full-frame camera that was tailor-made for the demands of astrophotography. After extensive research and consulting with fellow enthusiasts, a consensus emerged - the Canon 6D was the ideal candidate for modification in pursuit of this vision.
Modifying the Canon 6D Mark I was a game-changing decision that significantly enhanced my astrophotography capabilities. It has proven to be one of the best choices in my photography journey, opening up new possibilities for capturing the captivating night sky.
The introduction of the Optolong L-Pro filter was a game-changer for my astrophotography. It enhanced contrast and detail in my images, even in areas with less light pollution, making celestial objects stand out vividly against the night sky. This filter has become an indispensable tool in my astrophotography toolkit, elevating the quality of my captures.
Developing two distinct setups tailored to my specific astrophotography goals, each designed with a particular purpose in mind. As a backpack astronomer, my aim is to remain as lightweight and mobile as possible, allowing me to venture into remote and rugged locations for tracking celestial wonders.
This versatility in my equipment configuration enables me to adapt seamlessly to various astrophotography scenarios
I employ two distinct astrophotography setups: one for wide-field captures of the night sky and another for deep-sky imaging with an integrated auto-guiding system, featuring the Lacerta Super Auto Guider. These setups grant me versatility and precision in capturing the celestial wonders I seek to explore.
►In Search of Wonders
The lamentable reality is that light pollution continues to intensify year after year, despite concerted efforts to reduce it. This unchecked proliferation has cast a shadow on the pristine beauty of our night sky, a stark contrast to the celestial vistas of just a few decades ago.
Thankfully, there is a glimmer of hope, and it's found in the innovations brought forth by Optolong.
While its not solution, it offers a ray of optimism for those of us who pursue astrophotography, Optolong's technology is a beacon of progress. It allows us to partially combat the encroaching light pollution.
It's a reminder that, even as the night sky faces increasing challenges, we as astrophotographers can still find ways to capture and share its wonders, breathing life back into the beauty of the cosmos.
This image below of the rosetta wide-field image which has an appearance of a rose blossom flower located about 5,200 light years away.
Shot with my Canon 6D Tracked With Sky Watcher Star Adventurer, Optolong L-Pro, Canon 200mm
Guided with Lacerta MGEN 2
Sky shot 30 images 120min iso1600 + Calibrated frames, Foreground 2x 60sec iso 400
Tracked With Sky Watcher Star Adventurer, Shot With Canon 6D Astro- Modified , Optolong L- pro
This is Earl Mallia.
Outdoor, Landscape & Astrophotography