And so, the day had arrived. Through months of anticipation and excitement built up through media and news coverage, Starman hit the big smoke, to the city of London and onwards to the Royal Observatory of Greenwich.
Josh next to his installation, presenting his shortlisted image "The Enigma of the North" in the exhibition for The Astronomy Photographer of the Year (2023) at The National Maritime Museum.
On the day itself, I had a lot of emotions. The experience brought back a lot of nostalgia for me. Having last been shortlisted for the competition back in 2017, with my image "Glastonbury Tor and the Double Flash". I had been invited to a tour of The Royal Observatory of Greenwich before proceeding on to The National Maritime Museum to view my shortlisted entry in this year's exhibition.
Travel back in time to (2017 )when I was last shortlisted for The Astronomy Photographer of the Year. Photographed next to BBC Sky at Night Presenter, Chris Lintott. My shortlisted entry of that year "Glastonbury Tor and the Double Flash".
When arriving to the National Maritime, I was awestruck to think I would be meeting some of the greats of the astrophotography community. It was here during the opening speeches that I saw my shortlisted image being presented. A massive moment for me, which made the experience all more real. Then, all shortlistees in attendance were invited to view the exhibition.
"The Enigma of the North" presented in The Astronomy Photographer fo the Year Exhibition at The National Maritime Museum (2023).
That moment. When you step around the corner and see your image being proudly displayed in the 'hall of fame', is a moment that really takes you back. When you see your image and think back to the story, which ultimately got shortlisted for this year's competition. Believing at the moment I took that photograph, 6-months had passed, thinking I would never pick up a camera again and then to believe that Callanish is what re-ignited my passion in connecting me with the stars. But I was not to expect the recognition it would obtain from both the media and the press. To having been interviewed on television, radio and even in print. Callanish started a real conversation about my astrophotography and it was not over yet. But most importantly, to lend thanks to the site of Callanish itself. An iconic stone circle that only few have been fortunate enough to travel to. Only to find that news had spread to the Isle of Lewis 'bringing the trophy home' to the islanders of Lewis. It was really emotional to think I have made their community and heritage, proud.
Josh Photographed with some of the greats from this year's Astronomy Photographer of the Year Competition (Left: Yuri Beletsky, Middle: Ed Bloomer, Right: Josh photographed with his print going on sale at the shop for Astronomy Photographer of the Year).
So after meeting the shortlisted photographers, I had been invited to attend the podcast for the competition, where in groups we were able to discuss our work and what got us into Astrophotography. The whole experience was heightened when I saw my image being displayed in the shop for this year's competition and to meet one of my idol in the Astrophotography world, Yuri Beletsky.
Josh's photograph printed in this year's photobook publication for Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2023.