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20th December 2019, by
Ben Bush – Astro Photographer
20th December 2019

Ben Bush – Astro Photographer

Should we have heard of you?

I’m a Lake District based Astro/Landscape photographer.  I live with my fiancé and our 4 dogs.  I run my photography business here, am lucky enough to be out walking in the Lake District taking photos; and taking clients out around the Lakes, Scotland, Wales and now abroad teaching them what I know about photography.

I’ve been lucky enough to have several exhibitions including a major two-month solo exhibition at the fantastic Gaddum Gallery in The Lake District Visitor Centre, Brockhole.

Recently I was very proud to be named as the winner of the People & Space category of Astro Photographer of the year, the biggest Astro competition in the world.  I was one of 8 winners from nearly 5000 entries from 90 countries and now have work published and on display in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.  As a result of this award, I’m heading off soon to Africa, Iceland and the Azores.  I’m also continuing to take photographers of all abilities out in the Lake District and around the UK.

Life’s busy of late and 2020 is looking to be an amazing year with lots of travel and photographic opportunities.  Plus, it’s the year we will get married!

Tell me a bit about you and your life

I love Cumbria and feel blessed to have been born and brought up here.  I live in the Northern Lake District, away from the crowds with my partner and soon to be wife Carlie-Rose and our 4 dogs Floyd, Loki, Luna and Red.  I love nothing more than to head into the hills and spend my days exploring and taking photographs along the way.

I love the Lake District in any weather it’s just incredibly beautiful and inspiring at every turn.

I trained as an aircraft engineer, living the highlife in Brighton for a few years, then came back to my native Lake District and started to live the quiet life and trained to be a tree surgeon.  A few years climbing trees and playing with chainsaws, but photography was always close to my heart and my camera always close at hand.

As time moved on my photography began to slowly overtake tree surgery and around three years ago it became my main job.  How lucky am I!

We don’t have kids (except for the dogs!), so I can be out and about, and travel to some amazing places with my work. I’ve never been one to sit still so getting to do what I love doesn’t feel like work and allows me to spend time in beautiful places.  My tuition and workshops also mean I get to meet interesting people who also have that passion for photography.

How did you start shooting the Night Sky?

A few years ago, I was living in the very heart of the Lake District – a great place to be, but the hills were quite busy, the lakes bustling and busy with people visiting to see the beauty for themselves.  I wanted to experience it all at a quieter time and slower pace. So I started exploring the hills and lakes at night.  This is when the Lake District completely changes and becomes almost otherworldly, with completely new and interesting sights to see and experience.  Even the most famous views look completely different at night with a sky full of stars.

One night I was out in the beautiful valleys of Langdale and Little Langdale and ended up at Blea Tarn: always a favourite place to visit in the day, what a truly stunning and almost ethereal place to be at night.  It was a cold one, frost covered the grass and a slight sheen of ice was visible on the tarn.  I spent some time taking panoramas of Blea with the Langdale Pikes in the background covered with snow and stars reflected through the thin ice on the tarn.  I noticed something that looked like a galaxy in the top corner of my shot when I got home and loaded it onto the computer.  That was a defining moment for me and literally from the second I saw our sister Galaxy Andromeda, I was completely hooked.  Everything I do and am photography-wise comes from that one night time shot of beautiful Blea Tarn.

Why Cumbria?

I’ve explored the UK extensively and we are so lucky to live in such a beautiful country.  We’re tucked away in the North West and in my humble opinion, it’s the jewel in the crown.  Such a stunning place to visit and spend some time.  In the north, we have the stunning Solway Firth with some of the best beaches to walk your dog and where I’ve seen the best sunsets of my life, to the west these amazing beaches continues southwards towards the southern Lake District where majestic and awe inspiring sights such as Wasdale lie.  In the middle lies the utterly beautiful Lake District.

If you’ve never visited I urge you to do so and experience the best of the UK.  Cumbria is easily comparable but different to Cornwall, Wales and Scotland and is definitely a location that should be on your list.  From beaches to lakes, mountains, streams and hidden valleys, it’s a truly beautiful bit of the world.

What would people experience if they went on one of your workshops?

If someone came on my workshops we’d spend time visiting amazing locations, sunrises and sunsets, landscapes and star-filled skies.  We’d then cherry-pick the best locations, and I’d guide you as someone who has literally spent their life looking at the Lakes through a viewfinder.

We’d then sit and explore the world of post-processing, editing and really getting the best out of your images.  It’s a complete immersion in photography for photographers of all abilities.

You get to look up with wonder and awe at the sights of the heavens while capturing the stunning landscape all around you.  A few days taking photographs is a wonderful experience, being out and about in this glorious place, finishing up with amazing photos you’ve taken,  and some amazing memories that will last a lifetime.  You’ll also meet some great people, have good fun and the craic.

What are you up to this coming year?

This coming year is a busy one for me. I’ll have been in London selling my prints on the Southbank throughout December, bringing a bit of Cumbria to the big City.

January finds me in Iceland visiting locations and taking photographs as I’ll soon be running workshops there. February & March finds me on Skye running two 5-day workshops, then I’m off to the Outer Hebrides again to scout locations for further workshops.

Back to the Lakes for a week or two then I’m off to Africa to spend a month in Botswana taking Milky Way and astrophotos as well as going on safari and capturing some of the amazing animals that live in this amazing place. Back to the Lake District briefly then I’m off to the Azores, again for some Milky Way photography and to scout workshop locations.

Home again (phew!) to sort tuition and stalls in and around the Lake District summer festivals and activities.

September sees me marrying the love of my life with just us, a couple of witnesses and our dogs on a Scottish beach before running off to Greece for a honeymoon (& take some photos!).

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