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I have lived in central Colchester most of my life, until 6 years ago when we moved to Layer de la Haye.

I have recently semi-retired from a career in IT leadership across the public and private sectors.  I now have the time to focus in three areas - astronomy, keeping fit and providing consultancy on a part time basis to the public and private sector. 

As a youngster, I used to stare up at the sky and marvel at what you could see on a clear dark night.  Working for the NHS for the last 13 years, I have been fortunate enough to meet likeminded and incredibly generous people. 

I first bought a scope in 2007 when a work colleague of mine also wanted to get into astronomy.  A couple of years later, I met Paul Gordon who taught me a vast amount about DSLR astronomy.  He also introduced me to Nik Szymanek who has also been generous with his time, recently giving me a couple of short but highly effective tutorials that got me past some roadblocks on the software I was using. 

My favourite objects are interacting galaxies and nebulae which I find awe inspiring.  My image of the Rose Galaxy (a pair of interacting galaxies) just won the April Sky at Night monthly photo competition and I have had some of my photos appear in the magazine over the years.  

Most of the time, I use the fixed setup in my observatory, but for Kelling Heath Star Parties, I have a portable setup.  

Why do I love it?  Astronomy is something you can get lost in, and with astrophotography, have a permanent record of your hard work and a real sense of achievement.  Best of all, you get to meet some amazing and inspiring people.

Mark Large
Mark Large Consulting Ltd