Get Away From Light Pollution and See Stars Galore
Dark skies and bright stars humble me as a human.
I’ve been planning our fall trip to Acadia National Park in Maine. As such I’ve been following some social media pages on Acadia and Moosehead Lake, both places we’ll visit next month.
One thing that I need to become better at is night photography. Like many before me, I turned to YouTube for some tutorials. I’ve only watched one, but it did help me understand what is needed to take clear nighttime photos. Now, I just have to apply that information to my camera.
But, cameras aside, there is nothing as humbling, in my opinion, than looking up at the night sky on a dark, clear night such as we had last night in Northern Wisconsin. We are far from any town, so light pollution is low, and if existent at all, comes from our cabin lights which we can easily control.
Last night, after our first campfire of the season, we headed down to our dock to view the stars and practice night sky photography. I have a long way to go before I am good at doing this, but the view was so inspiring. A moonless but clear night gave the heavens a glow unlike any I’d seen before. The milky way was hard to see from our dock as it spanned the sky above the cabin, not over the lake. But over the lake, we saw the big dipper and many other constellations I cannot even name, yet. See this page from the Sky and Telescope website for more of what I saw last night.
When you view the sky from a dark place and can truly see all the planets and stars, it is humbling. Our lives are short and in the span of the eons before us, really insignificant. It is a good thing to remember.
Our son just returned from Voyageurs National Park in Northern Minnesota. He captured a nice photo of the milky way from there. I hope to learn enough to be able to capture a similar shot from Acadia. He revealed that the sky at our cabin was as good as the sky at Voyageurs as far as being able to see stars, planets, and galaxies.
I learned that I need a few things before our trip. 1) A tripod to keep my camera still — necessary due to the slow shutter speed. 2) A night sky app for my iPhone so I can identify what we are looking at. And, 3) More knowledge about how my camera works. I think I can accomplish that in the next few weeks. If not, I can always continue to work on it at home. Since the sky was so brilliantly lit last night, I know there is an opportunity right in my own backyard!
Do you have any suggestions for learning night photography that I didn’t cover in this post?