Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn: Meteorologist, Pilot, Astrophotographer

Canadian Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn is a meteorologist and pilot by day — and an inspiring astrophotographer by evening. She’s widely known, showing on The World at Night (TWAN) and Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD), and she or he teaches workshops, too. See extra of her work at

I’ve had the pleasure of assembly Kerry-Ann and lately talked along with her about her pursuit of and fervour for astrophotography.

Waterfall nightscape Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn


I do know that you’ve an Honors diploma in Earth and Atmospheric Science and work by day as a senior meteorologist for the Canadian TV station The Weather Network. So, images is your pastime and fervour. How did you first get into this?

I first acquired excited by astronomy after I was 10 years previous and heard that Halley’s Comet was passing by. The considered seeing one thing from area (apart from the Moon, Sun, and stars) was so thrilling. In the top, I didn’t see the comet however the occasion sparked a ardour in me that has lasted a lifetime. When I used to be 15, I began to think about taking astrophotos with my first telescope, a 4.5-inch Newtonian reflector on a shaky mount. I signed up for a images class in class and purchased an SLR movie digicam.

I beloved each images and astronomy so it was solely pure to place the 2 collectively. I particularly needed to share the cool issues which can be within the evening sky with others. 

NightscapeKerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn

Do you have got any mentors or experiences that have been key to your success in rising as an astrophotographer?

Initially, I gained most of my data by studying books and magazines reminiscent of Sky & Telescope and Astronomy. After the arrival of the web, I delved even deeper into the technical facets of the pastime with the assistance of on-line communities.

My mentor, a few years later, was Stefano Cancelli. He was a really inspiring and gifted astrophotographer who proved that it was doable to take high-quality deep-sky photos from light-polluted cities, reminiscent of Toronto, Ontario, one of the populated components of Canada. Over the years, he is handed on invaluable recommendation about deep-sky image-processing and given me the perfect constructive criticism that actually helped to push my expertise.

We comprehend it’s not the aircraft, however the pilot — gear just isn’t every little thing — however readers need to know, what’s your favourite gear to shoot with and why?

Even although I really like my small observatory and telescope, I’ve to say my favourite gear is my Canon 6D modified DSLR, Sigma 14 mm, Sigma 50 mm, and Canon 100 mm macro lenses, driving atop a tripod with a tracker. I really like with the ability to pack mild and take them with me anyplace on the earth. I can rapidly and effortlessly take an publicity after I’m in a fantastic location with a fantastic evening sky.

Speaking of planes — how can we not point out that you’re additionally a pilot! Any ideas in your love of flying that you simply want to share?

My love for flying really began after I was Four years previous. I had a fascination for energy and velocity . . . so initially it had nothing to do with my love for the sky. However, now I’ve a special appreciation for flying when it comes to respect for the environment, the great thing about climate and clouds, and the way the sunshine adjustments by the minute if you end up up there. 

Partial photo voltaic eclipse over Toronto, CanadaKerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn

Your portfolio is stuffed with great photos taken each by a telescope and with a digicam lens. Do you like one over the opposite?

I really like them each for very completely different causes. Deep-sky images with my telescope is tough to arrange and get working nicely, however when it really works, it’s a dream come true. I can arrange an automatic run, the place I can seize exposures whereas I’m sleeping. It’s thrilling to test on the imaging leads to the morning, and the reveal throughout the submit processing may be very rewarding. The camera-lens photos are primarily nightscapes which can be extra stress-free and simpler to perform.

What in regards to the evening sky and astrophotography actually touches or motivates you?

For me, it’s the wonder and thriller. I want I have been born in a time the place we may journey simply by area, and images provides me an opportunity to really feel like I can go to to those distant locations with out going there bodily. As I spend hours processing and fine-tuning a deep-sky picture, I begin to really feel like I do know it very nicely when it comes to high quality particulars, coloration, and construction. 

There have been late nights within the freezing chilly earlier than work the following morning I’m fairly certain. What motivates or drives you to do that?

The preliminary drive to get out is the toughest, however I remind myself that if I don’t get out and shoot this occasion or object now, I could lose the chance and miss out on capturing doubtlessly certainly one of my greatest photos. Once I get out within the area and I see a glimpse of what I’m making an attempt to picture on the display or digicam show, my adrenaline kicks in. No quantity of chilly or weariness can cease me, and I often find yourself dropping observe of time. 

Whirlpool Galaxy Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn

What do you continue to wrestle with right this moment as a photographer?

Going to places alone to take photos at nighttime. The humorous factor is that I’m barely afraid of the darkish and the unknown in an unfamiliar location so I often attempt to discover somebody who might be keen to maintain me firm. 

Finally, do you have got any recommendation to somebody who’s simply getting began in astrophotography?

Start off easy with simply accessible and inexpensive gear like a DSLR or mirrorless digicam and a wide-angle lens. Learn in regards to the objects within the evening sky and benefit from the course of earlier than you put money into larger and extra sophisticated gear.Join an astronomy membership, digicam membership, or a web-based discussion board to attach withj others who share the identical pursuits and can enable you in your journey.Don’t overlook, books and magazines are an enormous wealth of data and inspiration.

Thanks, Kerry-Ann!

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