DAVID ELI VAUGHN

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Artist's Statement

As a photographer, and avid amateur astronomer, I gravitated toward an interest in astrophotography. I've attempted, in my work, to pursue a more personal approach to a fairly scientific activity, by including elements of landscape within the field of view, movement, storytelling, and hints or representations of myself within the composition. In the dark of a new moon, it is difficult to visualize the landscape around me, but I use various light sources to illuminate those elements I want the viewer to see. I think of my role as setting a theatrical stage, with the starry sky as a luminous backdrop.

I use a medium format film camera mated to a motorized equatorial mount, coupled to a guiding telescope. I use a fixed tripod for "trailed" shots. My exposure times range from about 15 minutes to three hours, or more. During the exposure, I venture into the field of view, for a few moments at a time, to highlight an otherwise dark landscape, and to establish my presence as an observer. The rest of the time, my eyes are glued to the eyepiece of my guidescope, my fingers to the keypad of my computerized mount. I often check the skies for signs of approaching aircraft, which, in my opinion, will ruin a shot. But, occasionally, I get to look skyward for pleasure, and mentally pinpoint some of my favorite deep sky targets. My prints represent one exposure; there is no post-processing or computer manipulation of any kind. The images are printed on museum-quality, archival Cibachrome, now called Ilfochrome Classic, and are usually mounted on aluminum. My prints are large. They are currently available in three sizes, 24"x 30," 30"x 40," and 40"x 50," each an edition of six. Occasionally, I will print a larger, 4'x 5' image. Prices available on request.

Around the time of every new moon, weather permitting, I can be found in the deserts or mountains of Southern California, or wherever my travels find me, under a dark, starry sky.