A TALBOT-based photographer and astronomer who climbed more than 3300 metres in the hope of picturing an eclipse has been rewarded for his commitment, taking out the open prize at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale.
Phil Hart scaled the heights of Table Mountain, Wyoming and planted an automatic camera near the summit three days before an eclipse in 2017, but unable to be on top of the mountain during the actual event, he was shocked to learn that all his efforts may have been in vain.
Hart set up his camera in a remote location on the mountain as well other cameras in various other locations in the northern United States and joined an Australian tour group who had gathered to watch the eclipse in South Menan Butte Idaho.
The day after the eclipse he returned to Table Mountain to retrieve his camera.
"Near the top of the steep climb to the ridge, I met two people who had just been up to the summit that morning," he said.
"I was surprised to hear they had discovered my camera, but my heart sank when they told me they had found it fallen over and they had put it back in place thinking it might have been a time lapse camera or something like that.
"I thought it was guaranteed that the camera would have fallen over early in its stay on the mountain.
"When I eventually reached the camera and started playing back through the images on the camera, I was stunned to find that the eclipse sequence had captured perfectly.
"I thought I was the luckiest guy alive, that my camera had survived three days and nights on the Table Mountain summit, and had miraculously only fallen over in the last 24 hours."
Other pictures in the exhibition include photos of a lunar eclipse over Waubra Wind Farm, a lunar eclipse of Maryborough Station, a blood moon lunar eclipse over Mount Buffalo and a partial solar eclipse at sunset over Lake Bolac.
Hart said he had planned for three years for the moment of the eclipse, as they are one of the most predictable natural phenomena in the world.
The Ballarat International Foto Biennale is open for just two more weeks. If you wish to view Phil Hart's Eclipsed! exhibition, you can do so at Bibo Cafe, 614 Sturt Street, Ballarat Central. Also, view photos at philhart.com
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