Recent Union University graduate David Parks has found a fascination with the night sky that goes beyond the occasional star gaze in the countryside. Having been an avid photographer since the age of thirteen, Parks began attempting more challenging landscapes in 2013 when he was in Jackson studying astrophotography in his free time. Using a longer exposure, he is able to capture the slow, bright movements of the cosmos, a process that requires exact precision and a good dose of patience.
“Surprisingly, one doesn’t need tons of fancy equipment to capture the stars above,” Parks explained. “Nearly any DSLR camera mounted to a tripod should do the trick. Keeping the camera steady allows the shutter to open longer, taking in more light to paint a picture, without getting too technical. Because the sensor is more sensitive than the naked eye, the end result often yields more than we could see.”
Beyond the astounding ways Parks’ work is able to magnify the mysteries of outer space, his work also serves as a personal oasis for renewal as well as a conversation starter for viewers about subjects such as identity, stillness, and exploration.
“There’s something special about creating art in the wee hours of morning while the rest of the world sleeps,” he continued. “I aim to evoke a sense of solitude in my pictures, portraying the peacefulness present within them. Today’s culture easily entrenches us with a plethora of tasks, technologies, and troubles, so if I can essentially take you away, even for a second, then I’ve succeeded.”
Here we share a selection of some of his most stunning shots of Jackson’s night sky that are sure to inspire you to look up more often and more closely.