celebrate dark skiesPosted: April 11, 2013
When I was perusing my friend Paul Zizka’s facebook page (if you click the link, be prepared to be blown away) I came across his post about International Dark Sky Week. April 11 marks the last day of this awareness week.
If I had known about this sooner, I would have fast tracked my editing of the famous red rock Uluru where I was able to get some great starry night shots.
Why I love the night sky
The idea of dark skies is something I’ve been passionate about for a while (although I suppose not passionate enough to know about the international awareness week…). As a kid I love going to our family cottage and seeing the incredible number and brightness of the stars in comparison with the night sky in the city. I also remember a time when traveling in Australia in 2003 when I was lying on the seat of a bus on the way out to the small Town of 1770. Hotel California was playing on the radio and the night sky was spectacular through the window.
What’s wrong with lights
Living in a large city like Toronto, I’ve also experience light pollution first hand. Not only was the night sky subdued as I mentioned before, the effect of the lights on migratory birds is quite sad. My ex-girlfriend worked at a Wildlife Rehab centre and saw the effects first-hand. As I was also in Animal Care at the time, I was aware programs like FLAP (Fatal Light Awareness Program) that attempted to educate the public on the harmful nature of excessive lighting.
Even now I have been able to experience the dull nature of city skies living in Melbourne. As part of my role, I’ve taken numerous flights over the past 6 months, and have seen first hand from my window seat the parts of Australia that are in darkness while others are bathed in light even at night. So far I haven’t even had the motivation to try to photograph the night sky, since I know it would pale in comparison to rural areas. As I write this, I think I should go out and see if I can capture the light pollution in a way that communicates the impact it has.
2013 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest
Do you have any shots that show either a beautifully dark night sky, or examples of light pollution? If so, TWAN (The World At Night) is running a photo contest and you can find out more about it on their website.
For now I’ll just share my best starry night shot (so far at least), and the one that I’ll be entering into the contest. Some of you may have seen it before…
And here’s a look at last year’s winners of the contest (via the TWAN website):