Message from the WAA President

  Welcome to Western Amateur Astronomers!  Please feel free to explore!

2018 Recipient
"The G. Bruce Blair Award"

Wally Pacholka

"Pioneering work in Landscape Astrophotography of National Parks"

Wally Pacholka has had a God instilled passion to enjoy and photograph the night sky since his early teenage years living in a small town outside of Montreal Canada. As early as 1964, armed with a 35mm camera bought from a pawn shop with paper route money, he amazed his family and friends with photographs of the night sky that included the surrounding landscape to give the viewer the same perspective he himself was seeing while under the dark skies of rural Canada.

When sixteen, his dad moved the family to Long Beach California and initially it was a great disappointment not to be able to see and photograph the stars from a dark rural location, but soon he discovered the fabulous areas of American beauty know as America’s National Parks. In the 1980’s and 1990’s his pioneering work of recording celestial events above western national parks landscapes gave local newspapers and TV stations the images they needed to promote upcoming meteor showers and comets to the public in a contextual way they could relate to. International travel magazines often showcased his night time national park landscapes promoting the parks but also promoting beautiful nightscapes as well to a wide audience.  

Today, still armed with only a 35mm camera and a tripod he actively continues the task of hiking new national park trails and shooting their great beauty at night. By day, he speaks at schools and clubs promoting the great beauty of the night sky. His wide field landscape based celestial photography earned him TIME-LIFE Magazine’s "Picture of Year" honors 3x for his images of celestial events. Over the years his scenic astro-landscape images have graced the pages of many mainstream national and international publications including NASA, National Geographic, TIME Magazine, LIFE Magazine, popularizing Astronomy worldwide and his work has pioneered a whole new field of photography, Landscape Astrophotography. He has been referred to as the Ansel Adams of Astrophotography for his national park night sky landscapes. He is a member of the highly respected international team of landscape astro-photographers TWAN, The World at Night, which has promoted Astronomy worldwide in a borderless setting. His work can be seen and enjoyed at .