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The Estes & Schmitt Story

Blake Estes and Sam Deery-Schmitt met at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles in 2016, where they still both work to promote scientific literacy and instill an understanding and appreciation of the cosmos in visitors from around the world. Blake is a practicing astronomer, and a photographic scientist by degree, and he strives to capture the complex beauty of the universe as seen through his eyes. Sam has a background in scientific research and is a seasoned public speaker and amateur astrophotographer who enjoys making science engaging and accessible for everyone.

Blake has privately owned and operated telescopes for years, and delights in showing friends and neighbors unparalleled views of the moon, planets, and galaxies. He has also imaged these same objects for a number of years, but for some time, he just kept his space photos stored on his computer. “I would show a friend a picture of the Orion Nebula, and they would be blown away that I had never considered putting it on the internet. So I started uploading my images to social media. And eventually people started asking if I would ever put my photos on clothing.”

Then came a camping trip with Sam to Joshua Tree National Park in December 2017 to watch the peak of the Geminid meteor shower (and do some astrophotography, of course). Blake and Sam discussed forming a business venture, while photographing the Andromeda Galaxy, the Pleiades, and the Rosette Nebula, to name a few. And so under the cover of innumerable stars, with streaking meteors illuminating the desert landscape, Estes & Schmitt was born.

The Estes & Schmitt mission remains, first and foremost, to share the surreal views of the universe Blake and Sam are afforded while in locations like Joshua Tree. We at Estes & Schmitt want our customers to feel like they’ve plucked a form-fitting piece of the fabric of spacetime from the cosmos. We want people to find themselves staring into their metallic print of the Heart and Soul Nebula they’ve hung in their living room.

But, equally importantly, our mission is to do our part to contribute to equality in science. There is a wide discrepancy in representation of women and minority groups in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. We want to contribute to changing the status quo, and that’s why we are committed to donating a portion of the proceeds from our sales to organizations the empower underrepresented minorities to pursue STEM educations and careers.

 

Cosmic clothing created through astrophotography.

 
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After years of practice, Blake has mastered the technical skills and scientific equipment necessary to capture astronomical phenomena in stunning detail. Imaging, as the practice of taking pictures of celestial objects is called, requires expertise, patience, and a little bit of luck. To escape light pollution, imaging is best conducted in remote locations. Deserts and mountains offer the best locations because the effects of atmospheric turbulence are lessened in high, dry areas. Every image you see on this website was captured by either Blake or Sam, and the same holds true for the clothing. These aren't computer-generated graphics or photographs downloaded from the internet.