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 well known, showing on The World at Night (TWAN) and Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD), and he or she 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 by Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn
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 passion and fervour. How did you first get into this?

I first bought inquisitive about astronomy after I was 10 years previous and heard that Halley’s Comet was passing by. The considered seeing one thing from space (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 consider taking astrophotos with my first telescope, a 4.5-inch Newtonian reflector on a shaky mount. I signed up for a images class at school and acquired an SLR movie digicam.

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

Nightscape by Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn
Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn

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

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

My mentor, many years later, was Stefano Cancelli. He was a really inspiring and proficient astrophotographer who proved that it was potential to take high-quality deep-sky pictures from light-polluted cities, corresponding to Toronto, Ontario, probably the most populated elements of Canada. Over the years, he is handed on invaluable recommendation about deep-sky image-processing and given me one of the best constructive criticism that actually helped to push my expertise.

We comprehend it’s not the plane, however the pilot — tools isn’t the whole lot — however readers wish to know, what’s your favourite gear to shoot with and why?

Even although I 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, using atop a tripod with a tracker. I like having the ability to pack mild and take them with me wherever on this planet. I can shortly and effortlessly take an publicity after I’m in a wonderful location with a wonderful 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 wish to share?

My love for flying truly began after I was 4 years previous. I had a fascination for energy and speed . . . so initially it had nothing to do with my love for the sky. However, now I’ve a unique appreciation for flying by way of respect for the ambiance, the fantastic thing about climate and clouds, and the way the sunshine modifications by the minute when you’re up there. 

Partial solar eclipse by Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn
Partial solar eclipse over Toronto, Canada
Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn

Your portfolio is full of fantastic pictures taken each via a telescope and with a digicam lens. Do you like one over the opposite?

I like them each for very completely different causes. Deep-sky images with my telescope is troublesome 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 examine on the imaging ends in the morning, and the reveal throughout the publish processing may be very rewarding. The camera-lens pictures are primarily nightscapes which can be extra stress-free and simpler to perform.

What concerning 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 might journey simply via space, and images offers 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 by way of superb particulars, colour, 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’ll lose the chance and miss out on capturing doubtlessly considered one of my greatest pictures. 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 normally find yourself dropping observe of time. 

Whirlpool Galaxy, by Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn
Whirlpool Galaxy
Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn

What do you continue to wrestle with at present as a photographer?

Going to places by myself to take photos at midnight. The humorous factor is that I’m barely afraid of the darkish and the unknown in an unfamiliar location so I normally attempt to discover somebody who will probably be prepared to maintain me firm. 

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

  • Start off easy with simply accessible and reasonably priced gear like a DSLR or mirrorless digicam and a wide-angle lens. Learn concerning the objects within the evening sky and benefit from the course of earlier than you put money into greater and extra difficult gear.
  • Join an astronomy membership, digicam membership, or a web-based discussion board to attach with others who share the identical pursuits and can make it easier to in your journey.
  • Don’t overlook, books and magazines are an enormous wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

Thanks, Kerry-Ann!

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