NWT man among finalists in international astronomy photography contest

YELLOWKNIFE — A Yellowknife man is gaining international recognition for a photo capturing a stunning spectacle of dancing green auroras above the Cameron River.

YELLOWKNIFE — A Yellowknife man is gaining international recognition for a photo capturing a stunning spectacle of dancing green auroras above the Cameron River.

Fred Bailey was the only Canadian among the finalists in the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s 2022 Astronomical Photographer of the Year competition. His time-lapse photo taken outside the capital of the Northwest Territories earned him second place in the Aurorae category.

“I was of course delighted, but also humbled by the news given the quality of entries this year,” he said. “Once the overall standings were fully released, I realized very quickly that this was a significant achievement and shows that I am heading in the right direction with my photography.”

The annual competition is the largest of its kind and features space and celestial photography from astrophotographers around the world. Over 100 winning and shortlisted images from this year’s entries are currently on display at the National Maritime Museum in London, featuring planets, galaxies, skyscapes and other celestial bodies.

Austrian Gerald Rhemann was named the overall winner for his photo of Comet C/2021 A1, commonly known as Comet Leonard.

First place in the Aurorae category went to Filip Hrebenda for his photo titled “In the Embrace of a Green Lady”, showing the lights reflected in a frozen lake above Eystrahorn mountain in Hvalnes, Iceland.

Bailey’s photo, titled “Misty Green River,” was taken last September with a 15-second exposure. He said the photo was taken looking down the river towards the riffle as mist lifted from the water.

Bailey, who has lived in Yellowknife for 18 years, said he first photographed the aurora when he and his wife, Karen, lived in the Yukon in the early 1980s.

He said he enjoys entering contests to get feedback on his photography.

“As for future goals, I always said it would be a good retirement job,” he said, noting that he and his wife had dabbled in making salable products such as calendars and producing printed material for friends and family.

Another photo Bailey took of the aurora over the Cameron River, which he submitted to the National Wildlife Federation’s Photo Contest in 2020, has been selected for use in a collection of greeting cards.

He said three of his aurora photos received a bronze medal at the Epson International Pano Awards in 2021.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 24, 2022.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of Meta and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Emily Blake, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version identified the photographer at the center of the story as Frank Bailey. His name is, in fact, Fred Bailey.

Carol N. Valencia