Stunning night sky pictures wowing diners

Dorset Echo: Stephen's stunning image of the lighthouse at Portland Bill Stephen's stunning image of the lighthouse at Portland Bill

VISITORS to a West Dorset cafe are seeing stars thanks to a young photographer’s stunning shots of the night sky over Dorset.

Images by Stephen Banks are currently on show at the Cafe Ann Day in Beaminster providing customers with a chance to see the heavens in breathtaking detail as giant prints on aluminium.

Stephen’s work has brought him many accolades. One of his pictures is the front cover of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year collection book for this year. His shot of Portland Bill features on the front cover of the Trinity House Lighthouses Calendar for 2014 and photography magazines have featured his images.

Stephen, who works for local PR company Watershed, moved to Bridport three years ago and started photographing the night skies.

He created the Bridport by Night time-lapse project and made the Dorset by Night feature for the Spirit of Bridport.

“Upgrading my camera from a ‘crop-frame’ smaller image sensor to a ‘full-frame’ larger image sensor meant that my camera could render much more detail in the night sky without losing any quality,” said Stephen.

“This summer, during the clearest nights, I roamed around Dorset’s iconic landmarks of Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, capturing my best images to date.

“It is important for me to merge the familiar landscapes with the cosmos, hence showing Dorset in a completely new light to many. We have some fantastic dark skies and I want to show them off to the world.

“Next year I hope to get better images of the night sky during the summer, when the Milky Way is most visible.”

Ann Day said that she first discovered Stephen’s work on YouTube.

“When I saw the photo of Durdle Door and heard he had been shortlisted for the Astronomy photographer of the year I was not surprised as he has a great talent.”

The exhibition will be on show in the cafe on Hogshill Street until well into the New Year.

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