Being based in the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park provides me with a natural view of the Universe, opening a new area of photographic exploration. On any clear night I will be outside, drinking in the unobstructed celestial beauty.
We each exist as conscious manifestations of the Universe itself, by viewing and photographing the visible Universe we nurture an important connection; we are not alone or separate from the cosmos. My astronomy interest has led me to run stargazing tours with my partner Helen, as part of our business Viridian Skies. This is a current learning process, and the more I learn the more I feel a need for some kind of creative output; my night photography is a direct result of my fascination for the night sky, solar system, galaxy, Universe and Multiverse.
The way light behaves is mysterious, taking time to ripple along the fabric of spacetime as a wave – the ‘empty space’ between matter could be thought of as an ocean of light. Point a DSLR at Sagittarius for thirty seconds and marvel as 26 000 year old photons of light are captured by the sensor.
We are physically connected to the entire Universe, and because of this I do not see the skies that feature in my work as separate to the landscapes that I present. Upon close inspection the natural landscapes of Galloway exhibit many of the same geometric shapes and energy flows that can be found by studying stars, galaxies, black holes and quantum particles. When I compose an image I see the landscape as a whole; the cosmic landscape. For example, phenomena such as Aurora and Noctilucent Clouds are combinations of space weather and Earth weather. The isolation we feel when we stare into the heavens is an illusion created by the vast distances that exist in spacetime.
Furthermore my own self awareness and consequent ability to gaze into the sky and wonder is an enormous source of inspiration. It’s a somewhat frightening fact that matter, everything that appears to us in the real world, only exists through observation. From this one could argue that each individual is partially responsible for the existence of the Universe as a whole. Suddenly those feelings of insignificance that emerge when you weigh your place on Earth against the scale of the Universe begin to disappear.
Working with the little light available at night gives rise to many technical problems, but by thinking creatively in the field it is possible to capture light and create my own interpretation of the things I have seen and felt when out after dark. I hope that my work inspires the reader to step out under a light pollution free sky. These images are a direct result of my love for the mystery of the night sky. Viewing the ancient light from the cosmos directly however is a different experience altogether, and one that I cannot recommend enough.