Shortlist announced for Hebridean Dark Skies Festival exhibition

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An Lanntair arts centre on the Isle of Lewis has announced the 10 photographers whose work will be showcased in a Hebridean Dark Skies Festival exhibition to be launched on the festival’s opening night tomorrow, Friday February 8.

The photographers – all from the Hebrides – were all shortlisted in the first Hebridean Dark Skies Festival photography competition. The competition winner, already announced, was Casey McIntyre, whose striking image of an atmospheric phenomenon called ‘Steve’ (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement) was chosen for the cover of the new festival’s first print programme – ‘Steve’ has also become a social media hit, the image shared thousands of times.

Images by the shortlisted photographers will be on display at An Lanntair during the festival, which opens with the German silent film Wunder der Schöpfung, featuring a live score performed by Herschel 36 and an introduction by John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland.

The 10 shortlisted photographers are: Stewart Carr (Tiree), Les Ellingham (Lewis), Ruairidh Macdonald (North Uist), Gordon Macdonald (Harris), Magz Macleod (Lewis), Casey McIntyre (Berneray), Chris Murray (Lewis), Emma Rennie (Lewis), Mark Stokes (Lewis), Andy Yearley (Lewis).

Festival co-ordinator Andrew Eaton-Lewis said: ‘The standard of entries in our photography competition was incredibly high and it was very difficult to choose our shortlist of 10, let alone decide on a winner.

‘We’re delighted to be able to share these striking photos, from Lewis, Harris, Berneray, Tiree and North Uist, which really get across how extraordinary the skies above these islands can be. Even if you can’t make it along to the festival – or if the stars don’t come out as much as we’d like them to! – this exhibition will offer a really memorable dark skies experience.’

Lewis and Harris have some of the darkest skies in the whole of the UK. Many astronomical sights can be seen through the naked eye including the Orion Nebula (more than 1,500 light years away), the Milky Way Galaxy, and one of the Milky Way’s companion galaxies the Great Andromeda Galaxy. The Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, can also be seen from the islands, one of the very best spots in the UK for watching this incredible phenomenon.

The full Hebridean Dark Skies Festival programme can be found online at www.lanntair.com/darkskies