Landing Among the Stars Exhibition

Local photographer Kevin Ferrioli, takes us on a journey through Dorset’s Night Skies
Landing Among the Star Kevin Ferrioli Exhibition at Durlston in Swanage

Local photographer Kevin Ferrioli, takes us on a journey through Dorset’s Night Skies

Over two decades ago, amidst the rolling hills and historic landscapes of Dorset, I embarked on a journey that would lead me to uncover the celestial wonders hidden within the embrace of the night sky. Reflecting on my earliest days in Dorset, I can still recall the awe-inspiring moment when I first set foot in this beautiful county. The very next day, I was taken to a visit to Corfe and was so impressed by the magnificent ruins that appeared on the horizon

Standing amidst the ancient walls of Corfe Castle, I felt a sense of wonder wash over me, but it was a chance encounter with a humble shop in Corfe Village that inspired my passion for astrophotography.  Called Celestial Skies, the shop introduced me to the world of local astrophotography. The images were breathtaking, and I was surprised when the lady in the shop explained that they were real captures, not Photoshop images.

I settled in Bournemouth, where I spent countless afternoons exploring the rugged terrain of Purbeck on my mountain bike. As the digital age dawned and advancements in camera technology expanded the realm of possibilities, I found myself drawn to the possibility of capturing the night skies like never before.

Whilst I enjoyed capturing the beauty of sunsets during my trips to Purbeck, my heart always belonged to the stars. I found myself captivated by the work of fellow astrophotographers, their images serving as beacons of inspiration.

Determined to master the art capturing the night sky myself, I embarked on a journey of trial and error, venturing out under varying light conditions to perfect my craft. It was a fateful moment when I stumbled upon an article detailing how to capture the Milky Way at Durdle Door.

Inspired by Durlston’s Dark Sky Reserve

Durlston Country Park, a designated Dark Sky Reserve in Swanage

From then on, I made it my mission to seize every opportunity to perfect my image, capture and editing techniques.  I became very familiar with the sunset times, the moon rises, the tides, and most importantly, the weather!

During my learning process, I found solace and inspiration in the tranquil surroundings of Durlston Country Park, a designated Dark Sky Reserve renowned for its unobstructed views of the cosmos.  It truly is a dark sky haven, where you can see the Milky Way and nebulas with your own eyes. The park became not only a sanctuary for my photography but a source of inspiration for many of my images.

As I persisted in my endeavours, the fruits of my labour began to materialize. A milestone moment arrived when my inaugural image of the Milky Way above Bournemouth Pier graced the pages of national newspapers. Emboldened by this success, I pressed onward, forging connections with fellow local photographers. Through these interactions, I gleaned invaluable insights into prime shooting locations, and enjoyed countless nights spent beneath the star-studded canopy. Moreover, I seized the opportunity to share my knowledge and passion, delivering enlightening talks at numerous camera clubs, fostering a community united by our collective fascination with astrophotography.

Corfe Castle - Landing Among the Stars Exhibition at Durlston Country Park Swanage

Neowise Comet with Corfe Castle

Awe-inspiring encounters

Amongst my collection of captivating images lie many stories. One particular night, as I stood along the coast, a distant storm painted the horizon with flickers of lightning. It was an irresistible opportunity to capture nature’s dance alongside the Milky Way.

With each shot, I chased the elusive balance between the celestial and the terrestrial, as storm clouds drifted in a mesmerizing ballet across the sky. Yet, as the storm seemed to stall ominously in the distance, a sudden realization dawned upon me. Unbeknownst to my friend and I, the tempest was swiftly closing in on our position. The tranquil serenade of raindrops hitting the water’s surface abruptly escalated into a cacophony of thunder and torrential downpour.

In a frantic scramble, we hastily packed our gear, but it was futile—the storm was upon us. Amidst blinding flashes of lightning and the relentless onslaught of rain, we found ourselves racing against nature’s fury. In mere moments, what began as a photographic pursuit transformed into a heart-pounding battle for survival. This harrowing experience etched itself into my memory as one of the most exhilarating and awe-inspiring encounters with the forces of nature.

Badbury Ring Poppy Field

Exhibition at Durlston Fine Foundation Gallery

Landing Among the Stars Exhibition at Durlston Country Park Swanage
Durlston Country Park - a designated Dark Sky Reserve

My pursuit of the night sky across Dorset has yielded me a vast collection of hundreds of images, each a testament to the enchanting beauty of our cosmos.

The culmination of this journey came with the inaugural ‘Landing Among the Stars’ exhibition at Durlston Country Park, where my work was showcased to great acclaim. Encouraged by this success, I have continued to refine my craft, incorporating advanced techniques such as the Sky Tracker to capture even more detailed celestial vistas.

Now, as anticipation builds for the second edition of my exhibition, I am excited to unveil a new collection of images that push the boundaries of astrophotography. This upcoming showcase will feature several dozen meticulously curated photographs, each offering a window into the breathtaking splendour of the night sky. Additionally, a talk will be held, providing insights into the journey of capturing these awe-inspiring images. As I reflect on the evolution of my work and the profound connection forged with the celestial realm, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to share this passion with others. I hope my work will inspire and captivate audiences to join me on a journey of discovery through the boundless wonders of the cosmos.

See more Kevin Ferrioli’s pictures on his website Dorset at Night.com

Find out more about Durlston Country Park and the Fine Foundation Gallery

My pursuit of the night sky across Dorset has yielded me a vast collection of hundreds of images, each a testament to the enchanting beauty of our cosmos. The culmination of this journey came with the inaugural ‘Landing Among the Stars’ exhibition at Durlston Country Park, where my work was showcased to great acclaim. Encouraged by this success, I have continued to refine my craft, incorporating advanced techniques such as the Sky Tracker to capture even more detailed celestial vistas. Now, as anticipation builds for the second edition of my exhibition, I am excited to unveil a new collection of images that push the boundaries of astrophotography. This upcoming showcase will feature several dozen meticulously curated photographs, each offering a window into the breathtaking splendour of the night sky. Additionally, a talk will be held, providing insights into the journey of capturing these awe-inspiring images. As I reflect on the evolution of my work and the profound connection forged with the celestial realm, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to share this passion with others. I hope my work will inspire and captivate audiences to join me on a journey of discovery through the boundless wonders of the cosmos. Landing Among the Starts exhibition will be in Swanage at the Durlston Country Park’s Fine Foundation Gallery

Article first published in Love It Local magazine, March 2024 edition. You can read the magazine on the Love It Local Purbeck website. 

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