Cosmic Canvas: Capturing the Light within the Darkness

by Hreedoy Anirban Khandakar


Hreedoy Anirban Khandakar

Hreedoy Anirban Khandakar

Bangali artist and photographer, Hreedoy Anirban Khandakar (b. 1981), is a creative thinker and maker. Khandakar graduated with an Associate’s degree in Applied Science from LaGuardia Community College (City University of New York) in Fine Arts Photography following a diploma degree in Mechanical Engineering and continues to pursue his education in the film towards a Bachelor’s degree in Film Production. In addition to his educational background, since 2009, he has worked as a Director of Photography at Jogi-motion Studio and Karuj Communications (2011-13) for documentaries and as a Content Creator at Syndicate Films since 2013 on projects for their Travel Series and Fiction projects in Bangladesh. He has also appeared as an actor in a few fictional television episodes over the years and has hosted a travel series. He is currently a press photographer for Prothom Alo North America. His photo books are Life Enduring-During A Pandemic (2020) and Missing The Beat (2020). His passion is filmmaking and fine arts photography. He values multi-cultural diversity in all project typologies with a sensitivity for the reporting and creating of dynamic stories and working in various locations with diverse populations and cultures.


Though I am a relatively young person, I feel profoundly that I must explore, study, and try to understand the universe as much as possible before I leave this earth. Needless to say, the universe is a very dynamic and mysterious place. Stars are constantly being born and dying. Galaxies are constantly colliding and merging. And black holes are constantly swallowing up matter and energy. There are many things about the universe that we do not yet understand and much to learn. We do not know what dark matter or dark energy are, and we do not know if there is life on other planets. But, it is important to remember that we are all connected to the universe. We are all made of stardust, and we are all part of something much larger than ourselves. By exploring the universe, we can gain a better understanding of our place in the cosmos and appreciate the beauty and mystery of the world around us.

We all live busy lives, often forgetting our place in the universe, but I am reminded that there are a number of ways one can simply engage with the night sky filled with stars, planets, and galaxies. First, you can simply go outside on a clear night, take a breath, and look up. I am struck by how the stars are of different sizes and radiances, and how the light we see today may have traveled from a dead star, maybe one that died millions or billions of years prior. You can also visit a planetarium or observatory to learn more about the universe and see astronomical objects through telescopes.

As a photographer, it is also my natural inclination to turn my lens skyward to try to capture some of the distant wonder of the universe above us that might be hard to see with just the naked eye. Photography is also a valuable means by which to share the experience of seeing the universe with others.

Currently, I find myself at the introductory stage of astrophotography, akin to learning the alphabet. Last summer, I had the rare opportunity to capture the mesmerizing Milky Way in a remote corner of New Hampshire near the Canadian border on the First Connecticut Lake. That night was also the height of the Perseid meteor showers where I saw over 15 meteors pass over our cabin, in less than 2 hours. In the darkness, the loons were calling to one another across the lake. What a moment to capture the space wherein the primitive earth meets the theater of the universe. It is incredible to realize that our solar system is located in one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy and that our Milky Way is just a small part of the vast and mysterious universe that we live in. The universe is made up of billions of galaxies, each of which contains billions of stars and planets. The image is a beautiful reminder of the infinite beauty of the universe. It also shows how small and insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things.

Thanks to no light pollution along the First Connecticut Lake, I was able to shoot the Milky Way using a DSLR equipped with a 35mm lens. More recently, I was able to photograph the Blue Moon from Riverside Park in Manhattan on August 30th. To photograph the moon, I employed a 200mm focal length lens. In post-processing, I further refined the moon image by cropping, enhancing clarity and proximity.

Looking ahead, my astrophotography aspirations involve constructing a comprehensive deep-sky rig. This envisioned setup encompasses essential components such as a tracking equatorial mount with a controller device, a sturdy tripod, a dedicated primary imaging refractor telescope, a monochrome camera designed for primary imaging along with a filter wheel and a set of narrowband filters, and a guide scope essential for precise autoguiding. This journey from capturing basic celestial scenes to building a sophisticated rig is a testament to my evolving passion for astrophotography. I also look forward to exploring unique shooting modes in unique locations.

Another goal of mine is to provide a therapeutic avenue for hospice patients to connect with the vastness of the universe during their challenging end of life journey. Amidst the gentle embrace of hospice care, where individuals navigate the delicate transition of life, astrophotography becomes a window to the vastness of the cosmos. Through carefully crafted sessions, patients would be invited to explore the beauty of the night sky, looking through a telescope or capturing celestial moments through the lens of a camera. Patients can embark on a cosmic journey from the comfort of their surroundings, transcending earthly constraints to explore the beauty and wonder of the universe. Engaging with astrophotography, or various interpretations of this medium, may offer a valuable distraction from the physical and emotional burdens of their illness, and would hopefully foster a sense of awe and inspiration, reminding patients that, like the stars above, their essence is an integral part of the cosmic tapestry. Gazing at the stars and creating images of distant galaxies allows these patients to transcend the confines of their immediate surroundings, offering a meditative and uplifting experience. The beauty of astrophotography lies not only in the images it produces but in the profound sense of connection and wonder it brings to those facing life's final frontier.

In this shared exploration of the night sky, astrophotography becomes a source of solace, igniting conversations and reflections that celebrate the enduring nature of the human spirit amidst the grandeur of the cosmos.

Want to follow Hreedoy Anirban Khandakar? Please visit