Chris has been an astro-photographer since 2001 as an extension of his lifelong interest in astronomy. Chris feels fortunate to be able to turn what began as an absorbing hobby into a full time profession which he loves and where there is so much to discover. Chris has won awards for his photography and contributed articles to the BBC Publication “The Sky at Night” and UK “Astronomy Now “magazines.
Chris enjoys the challenges of capturing data from objects which are trillions of miles away where the light has travelled through the universe over thousands or even millions of years to reach his camera.
He is interested in investigating the cosmos through the language of art as an alternative to the language of physics which is baffling to many people. He sees both physics and art to be simultaneous descriptions of reality which are equally valid. Like many scientists he was initially drawn to astronomy by a deep sense of wonder and awe for the beauty, enormity and mystery of the universe.
Chris's art taps into the human urge we all share to contemplate the universe, with its themes of the vastness of distance and time and the smallness of mankind who despite his ingenuity will never tame or fully explain the cosmos. The universe just gets on with doing its thing irrespective of what we do.
“The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do”. - Galileo Galilei
Chris is passionate and dedicated in his pursuit of an outstanding photograph of a deep sky object as a starting point for his art. He creatively manipulates the data to produce wall art with immense impact on glass and acrylic. Beautiful art in its own right, each piece comes with a fascinating story. It may be Nebulae which is giving birth to stars like our Sun, a gigantic galaxy made up of a trillion stars or a star spectacularly disintegrating in vivid colour. Such art makes the cosmos more accessible and brings these wondrous distant objects closer to home.
THE LOCATION AND EQUIPMENT
Since September 2012 my equipment has been based at the site known as Astrocamp (www.astrocamp.es) high up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Spain, above a village called Nerpio. Here the seeing conditions are exceptional, the light pollution almost nonexistent and the clear nights numerous. I control the equipment remotely from wherever I am in the world.
For the type of imaging I do and to get the quality I require for the art, it is essential to have good conditions and be able to photograph for long periods. Many of the images require 20 or 30 hours of data, not easy to achieve anywhere but especially not from the UK! The equipment comprises the telescope, cameras, a mount and ancillary equipment and software.
The equipment currently comprises the following:
• Takahashi TAO 6 inch triplet Refractor
• Paramount Bisque MX Mount with SkyX professional control software
• Quantum Scientific Instruments QSI683wsg camera with 8 filter positions
• Baader Filters: Luminance, Red, Green, Blue, Ha, SII, OIII, Hb
• Starlight Xpress Lodestar guide camera (off axis guiding)
• Kendrick Dew Heater
• Maxim DL software for camera control
• Dell computer with solid state hard drives
• Ccdware AutoPilot 5 for robotic operation
• Ccdware Navigator 3 for image planning
• Teamviewer software for remote control
• Adobe Photoshop 3 and Maxim DL and others for processing