Nightscapes

There is something very peculiar about the unblemished night sky. Living in cities with light pollution we don't commonly experience it. The first time you look up into a truly, unpolluted night, an unequalled feeling is evoked. The sheer volume of blackness is astounding, with the dancing glimmer of each star immensely captivating. Then you realise the vast number of them, incomprehensibly many. You begin to feel very small  and the enormity of the universe dawns on you. The pale shimmer of the milky way can  be seen crossing the sky as if some cosmic highway with the galactic core glowing like a mesmerising beacon eliciting a simultaneous feeling of both insignificance against the might of the universe and the fortune to be able to experience it. Perhaps the beauty of it lies in the novelty, as city dwellers we seldom experience it. However, I have no doubt that ancient seafarers and explorers that used the stars as navigation tools did not take it for granted. In many cultures, they put such significance to the stars that they represented various deities. Only after seeing the sky at altitude on Mt Kilimanjaro, I began to understand Carl Sagan's iconic commentary on the Pale Blue Dot.

The first time I saw an unadulterated night sky with the milky way, I was hooked and have decided to chase the feeling. I've tried for years to photographically convey the way the stars made me feel. These photos are the current culmination of those efforts, not to say that these will end. They print very well.

Zain Sheikh
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