Couple counting their lucky stars

Dark Skies by the river Bladnoch reveal the Winter stars as they spiral around Polaris
Dark Skies by the river Bladnoch reveal the Winter stars as they spiral around Polaris

A Galloway couple are hoping to give astro-tourism in Galloway a boost with a new business venture.

Jesse Beaman graduated with a 1st class BaHons in Wildlife and Media at the University of Cumbria in 2014, with his partner Helen who studied the same course.

Together they began exploring business ideas and with Astro-tourism on the rise, the idea of Night Photography workshops in the Galloway Dark Sky Park seemed like a viable business proposition.

Their new business, Viridian Skies, draws its inspiration from this remarkable area and a new exhibition at Designs Gallery, which opened on Saturday 16th April, will hopefully inspire others to venture out and explore this vast resource on our doorstep.

The stunning framed and unframed photographic prints follow a journey from our nearest stars and planets to the farthest galaxies.

“The stars change seasonally, and consequently provide fresh inspiration and new subjects’ explains Jesse, “Celestial phenomenon such as the Aurora, meteor showers, comets and planetary movements further increase this creative potential.

“No two nights are the same for an artist working at night.”

Over 7,000 stars and planets are visible with the naked eye from the Galloway Dark Sky Park, a perfect place to view the heart of our Galaxy, The Milky Way, and its dust clouds arching across the sky. The park was designated a Gold Tier Dark Sky Park in 2009 by the International Dark Sky Association, noting it as “one of the very best places to view the night sky in the UK”.

“I have always been interested in the night sky, and I am very inspired by everything we don’t see during the day.

“My fascination with the rest of the Universe is what fuels my creativity and I hope to inspire others to take an interest in the Universe through my photography and workshops,” says Jesse.

Anyone with an interest or curiosity in the natural wild habitats of Galloway, with its perfect viewing conditions of the Dark Skies will find this exhibition, which runs from 16th April–4th June, fascinating.

Designs Gallery in Castle Douglas is a longstanding supporter of contemporary art and design-led crafts in South West Scotland.