Kielder Moon Shines at BALTIC 39

On 9th December 2013 I made Kielder Moon, as it happened, on the very day that Kielder Observatory was awarded Dark Sky Status.

There’s another event that coincides with the release of this image — NASA celebrating its 45th anniversary of the 1969 lunar landing.

In recognition of this milestone and to acknowledge the moon’s place in our imaginations and culture, BALTIC 39 is currently staging ‘They Used to Call it the Moon‘, a beautiful exhibition dedicated to our nearest ball of rock, exploring the enduring presence of the moon and the rich iconography of space on the popular imagination of artists.

I was — ahem — over the moon when BALTIC invited me to include my recent creation in the exhibition. I’m very happy to announce that you can now buy numbered, signed and embossed prints directly from BALTIC Shop as well as from my New Prints page…

Kielder Moon, Kielder Observatory, the moon, astronomy, astrophotography, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

‘Kielder Moon’ currently showing in ‘They Used to Call it the Moon’ at BALTIC 39

Kielder Moon, Kielder Observatory, the moon, astronomy, astrophotography, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

Preparing prints for BALTIC Shop…

The Moon, Kielder Observatory, Northumberland National Park

Kielder Moon

Kielder Moon, Kielder Observatory, the moon, astronomy, astrophotography, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

‘They Used to Call it the Moon’ / List of Works

Kielder’s Golden Darkness

More money may have been spent in one year bailing out the banks than has ever been spent on scientific research (yes, in all fields, ever), but there’s one shimmering product of that research nestled in deepest Northumberland, chest deservedly puffed with pride…

As I cranked up the radio over breakfast yesterday, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing — some really good news.

I joined just in time to hear that Northumberland National Park had finally been awarded Dark Sky Status by the International Dark-Sky Association. In fact, the highest possible accolade — Gold Tier Dark Sky status.

Why is this particularly great news? Because a key Northumberland National Park attraction, positioned very close to the English/Scottish border, is Kielder Observatory.

Coincidentally, right on the night of their big announcement, I’d booked to attend another of the observatory’s legendary Jupiter Nights — my third visit in the last year or so.

Jupiter and Four Moons, Kielder Observatory, Northumberland National Park

Jupiter and four of its moons, captured by ITE — iPhone To Eyepiece 😉

My companion for the journey, visiting from Korea, had never seen a true night sky. 

Due to the terrible air pollution in her home near Seoul, the most she had ever seen was one or two stars attempting to break through the smog.

So, with such a great facility nearby, how could I not suggest the journey to Kielder to experience the night sky at its finest?

A Patchy Start…

On arrival, conditions were mixed and, at one point, heavy cloud completely obscured the sky.

Through one of the powerful telescopes, we’d managed an early glimpse of Jupiter along with its moons but it would be great to enjoy more.

Thankfully, the biting cold wind parted the clouds, unveiling the night sky — complete with a faint Milky Way and shooting stars to boot.

As the perfect half moon set in the west, the sky became darker and darker, the stars stronger and stronger — a near perfect night to observe the heavens and remind ourselves that we’re a ball of rock tumbling around in organised chaos. A gift.

The Moon, Kielder Observatory, Northumberland National Park

The Moon from Kielder Observatory, again captured by ITE…

A Breath of Fresh Air…

The award of Gold Tier Dark Sky Status is huge for the North East.

Northumberland National Park is one of only a handful of Dark Skies across the globe. Moreover, it’s the darkest sky in Europe and the third biggest Dark Sky in the world.

Gary Fildes can now press on confidently with his ambitious plans, which include a state-of-the-art planetarium (for those nights when the cloud-cover lingers) and the installation of a one-metre aperture telescope.

Not only that, 1500 square kilometres of Northumbrian countryside will now be protected from the vagaries of increased light pollution — any planning applications will absolutely have to take into account the area’s newly-awarded status.

All-in-all, a breath of fresh air to see less being recognised as so much more

PRINTS AVAILABLE!

I’ve made Kielder Moon into a beautiful, affordable trinket at 6×6″ on 10×8″ paper — you can find it on this dedicated page.

New Platinum Print: Hérault Mountains

In the depths of Southern France there’s a scene that’s kept me entranced for many a lazy afternoon over the years…

Hérault Mountains, France, 1999, photographed by Jack Lowe

Hérault Mountains, France, 1999

I’ve photographed the view many times, even made a time lapse once, but none of them encapsulate the feelings evoked as neatly as this one.

Now available as a Platinum/Palladium print, Hérault Mountains joins a growing collection of photographs using this very traditional printing method — read more about the process by clicking here.

Hérault Mountains, France, 1999, photographed by Jack Lowe

Print detail…

If you’re thinking of buying any of my prints as Christmas gifts, please allow as much time as possible — now is a good time to order.

I do hold a small amount in stock but Platinum/Palladium prints such as these can take a little while to make.

If you would like to buy Hérault Mountains as a signed, numbered and embossed print, you can find it nestled here in my Platinum Collection.

Hérault Mountains, France, 1999, photographed by Jack Lowe

New Platinum Print: Paddington Station

If you’re a photographer, you might empathise with this — occasionally (or regularly) making a photograph that you know you like but you’re not quite sure how or what will be the right way to finish it off, to properly close the loop…

I must say, it doesn’t normally take as long as fourteen years to come to a decision.

However, back in 1999, I captured the layered platform rooves of Paddington Station, a mainline railway station in West London.

Although I loved the graphic simplicity of the scene, it was an image that went on the back-burner.

Finding the photograph a couple of weeks ago put me straight into the mindset of a vintage Paddington Station.

Some of the buildings are clearly more modern but nevertheless it reminds me of a time gone by.

I’m not sure why, maybe it’s the weightiness or the puff of white rising from one of the platforms; maybe it’s simply the fact that it was shot on nostalgic ol’ black and white film with my Nikon.

Whatever the reasons, I knew instantly that it would make a fine Platinum/Palladium print.

I set to work making the Digital Negative and sent it off to Richard (take a look at the process here).

When Prints No.1 and No.2 arrived back, I was over the moon — just what I’d hoped for:

Paddington Station, West London, UK, 1999, photographed by Jack Lowe

In hindsight, I think I was a little ahead of myself when I released the shutter on this scene.

Rather than the photographic tastes I had then, it was as if I was seeing ahead to the tastes I would have now with an older head on my shoulders.

Perhaps that’s why it’s taken so long for me to close this particular loop.

Anyway, I managed to find a clip of The Last Journey, a story about Bob Holt’s last journey as a railway engine driver before his retirement.

The clip depicts Paddington in the 1930s, a time when Platinum printing had already become scarce due to the war effort, and a good example of the station back in the day:

If you would like to buy one of these beautiful signed, numbered and embossed prints, you can find it nestled among others here in my Platinum Collection.

Paddington Station, West London, UK, 1999, photographed by Jack Lowe

New Print: Peel Island

In August last year, I wrote a post entitled The Lake District and I.

One of the photographs from that camping trip has always stuck in my mind — the view over Peel Island (of Swallows and Amazons fame) on Coniston Water.

Peel Island, Coniston Water, 2012 by Jack Lowe

Over a year on, I’ve finally made the time to work on the print of this photograph, one that encapsulates so many of my experiences and feelings about the Lake District.

Largely, as you can see from the sky, I guess those feelings tend to revolve around an imminent drenching.

Indeed, at the time, I mentioned beauty in dankness.

For those who don’t know — if you’re vaguely dry in the Lake District, it’s about to rain. If you’re soaked to the skin, it’s raining already…

If you’d like a stunning signed, numbered and embossed Archival Pigment Print of this photograph, you can purchase yours from my Lake District Collection.

Canine Collection

Following on from the popularity of “I will not chase the cat” last week, it’s my pleasure to make this canine Print Collection available to you…

…as ever, made with the finest materials modern science can muster to make sumptuous prints that will last more than a lifetime.

Chocolate Labrador, Photography by Jack Lowe

7 Days to Go…

Jack Lowe running for the RNLIIt’s just seven days to go until my second Great North Run.

With 56,000 entrants, it’s now the largest mass-participation event in the UK as well as the world’s largest half marathon.

Fundraising for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a really important part of the event for me (see my last post for some reasons why).

After raising £1652 for the RNLI on last year’s run, this year I hope to raise over £2000 for my local crew at Tynemouth Lifeboat Station — a busy station protecting the North Sea coast.

To reach that target I could really do with your help. As well as supporting me through my JustGiving page, I’ve also created a new way to donate…

For every print purchased from my Sea Collection, £25 will be donated to the Tynemouth Lifeboat  Station (£25 will pay for a week’s training for a lifeboat crew member).

So, not only will you have acquired a beautiful signed and numbered print but you will also be helping to save lives at sea.

Tynemouth 2, Photography by Jack Lowe

Buy a print from the Sea Collection and £25 will be donated to the Tynemouth Lifeboat Station…

This is a permanent feature of the Sea Collection, not just limited to my Great North Run fundraising efforts.

If you’d like to help me support the RNLI, please do have a look through the Sea Collection or visit my JustGiving page…