In one giant sequoia’s lifetime multiple generations of humans will be born and die. These enormous trees, native to California, can live for thousands of years.
Though that time frame is considerable, writes photographer Beth Moon in her book, Ancient Skies, Ancient Trees, “compared to the age of the stars above, it is not even a blink of an eye.”
A self-taught photographer with a fine art background, Moon has been photographing trees for 20 years. She spent much of that time shooting on film and then processing her images using a 19th-century black-and-white method called platinum palladium printing. For more than a decade she photographed trees all over the world from sunrise to sunset.
But then Moon came across a scientific study that suggests a correlation between tree growth and galactic cosmic radiation. “As I thought about it,” she says, “it made so much sense; you know the sun is a star anyway—so why wouldn’t there be this very strong correlation with starlight at night as well as our sun during the day?”
The idea for her project, Diamond Nights, was born. Over the next three and a half years Moon traveled around the United States and also to several other countries, including England, Italy, Namibia, and Botswana, documenting ancient baobabs, junipers, sequoias, and more under skies blanketed in stars. Her mission was simple: Find out where the world’s darkest places overlap with the world’s oldest trees, go there, and make beautiful photographs.
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