November–December 2023

Photo Essay

Night Visions

The nighttime sky has a lingering allure for this stargazing photographer.

Travis Novitsky (text and photographs)

My interest in photography was sparked during my elementary school years. My dad was into photography in a pretty big way and would often head out at night with his camera to try capturing lightning or the northern lights. My mom said I always wanted to tag along with him on these outings. I didn’t have a camera back then, much less know how to use one, but spending time under the night sky as he was making photographs instilled in me a love for stargazing.

We didn’t have computers, video games, or cell phones back then, so one of our sources of entertainment was “slide show night,” when we’d gather around the slide projector and view photographs that my dad had made. He was—and still is to this day—a very good photographer, and being exposed to his imagery helped me to develop my own way of seeing the world. Thanks to him, by the time I picked up a camera in about eighth grade, I already had an eye for what made a compelling photographic composition.

In the years since, I have continued to develop my vision. I have read quite a few books about photography but am basically self-trained. I experimented a little with film, but my photography really took off when digital cameras came along. The learning curve is so much faster with digital, and by 2000 I was making my first images of the night sky with my first digital SLR camera. 

These photos were all made within the past decade near my home on the Grand Portage Anishinaabe Nation at the northeastern tip of Minnesota.