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Incredible Sights in Our Night Skies

01/06/16

Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

American astronomer and educator Dr. Carl Sagan once wrote of the universe, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” Today, local photographer and artist Kenneth Naiff is the one with his eyes on deep space. Fueled by his passion for the natural world and technology, Ken searches for those incredible sights in our night skies waiting to be introduced to his viewers. ¬†Fortunately, he shares those magnificent images with us through his meticulously developed art form of astrophotography.

Growing up in Sussex, England, among the primroses and bluebells, young Ken was not content just to keep his eyes on the beauty of the surrounding rural landscape. His keen gaze also scanned the indigo night skies with the help of his small telescope. The early days of the space program brought new possibilities for expanded horizons and the discovery of deep space objects. A new kind of exploration captivated Ken’s imagination as he watched Sputnik, a tiny brilliant speck, gliding through the darkness following its designated orbital path. Always the one interested in creative pursuits and exploring new forms of expression, Ken won Collyer’s High School art prize, in 1967, during his junior year. In the end, it was Ken’s scientific and technical fascination with semiconductors and integrated circuit designs that captured his career attentions for over 30 years. As a measure of his success, Ken holds six U.S. Patents for semiconductor and circuit device designs.

In 2004, Ken moved to Arizona where his passions for astronomy, art, and technology have been realized in one endeavor: astrophotography. Now using highly sophisticated equipment including telescope, cameras, equatorial mount, and control software, Ken successfully combines art and science in developing a body of work he calls The Art & Science of Deep Space. 

Ken explains that the appeal of astrophotography is multi-faceted for him. First, he enjoys camping out under moonless, cloudless skies in remote locations where he can capture the full impact of photographing deep space. Second, the technical challenge and complexity of capturing very faint objects, appeals to his engineering interests, and finally after the field work is complete, he puts his artistic skills to work using specialized software refining and enhancing images to achieve the most inspiring results in his work.

Ken has shared his knowledge and images by giving presentations on astrophotography on European cruises. He also would enjoy working with students to provoke questions that will help them gain new insight into the skies above us.¬† Ken has collectors of his images and metal prints throughout the United States and Canada. In 2015, he was successfully juried and joined both The Sonoran Arts League and Thunderbird Artists. To view Ken Naiff’s images, obtain exhibit information, or to contact him, visit www.DarkSkyImagesByKen.com.

Contact arts columnist Shea Stanfield at flowingquill@yahoo.com.