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Guide Us Home :: RI

18 Jul
Guide Us Home :: RI

Guide Us Home :: RI

In Connecticut, dark sky areas are almost non-existent, due to our dense population and the light pollution that comes with it.  That makes capturing the Milky Way very difficult.  To truly have a sky that is dark enough to see detail in the Milky Way core, I need to either drive to Rhode Island (where the is a tiny oasis of dark sky along our shared border) or north and/or northwest towards Massachusetts, Vermont or upstate New York.

So besides the inconvenience of needing to travel, why is light pollution a problem?  Because it isn’t just light.  It’s light that affects everything.

There is evidence that too much night-light will effect trees’ seasonal clocks.  It’s shown that the bright lights of human cities can disrupt migration patterns of birds, the ability of newly hatched sea turtles to find the safety of the water, the hunting and territory patterns of opportunistic animals…. and researchers are beginning to think that the disruption to our – humans – natural circadian cycles is a risk factor for higher incidences of cancer.

“The health effects of light pollution have not been as well defined for humans as for wildlife, although a compelling amount of epidemiologic evidence points to a consistent association between exposure to indoor artificial nighttime light and health problems such as breast cancer, says George Brainard, a professor of neurology at Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.” (here)

So about those pockets of darkness near Connecticut?  Well, Beavertail Light in Rhode Island is along the edge of one.  When my friend Tony Curado, who is working on a Galactic 50 project (capturing the Milky Way in all 50 states!), suggested he wanted to chase stars in my neighborhood, I knew exactly what location to try.

The night finally arrived, and as I sat there under the stars with Tony and Kyle (another local photographer), I felt grateful. There I was, watching the universe do its thing, the sounds of the waves kissing the land, and good friends to share it with.

Wanderlust :: CO

11 Jul
Wanderlust :: CO

Wanderlust :: CO

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed … We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.” -Wallace Stegner

Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado is a spectacular place. ❤

Although the idea of our national parks is deeply rooted in American culture, there was a time when preserving wild spaces was just the merest wisp of an idea.  It was an idea, however, that resonated deeply with people like John Muir, whose prolific writings stressed that these natural spaces were necessary for the soul.  His advocacy later became the driving force behind the creation of several national parks.

In response to growing pressure, Yosemite was placed under the protection of the state of California by Abraham Lincoln.  In 1872, Ulysses S. Grant made Yellowstone the world’s first national park.  In 1916, the National Park Service was created to oversee the growing network of national parks, refuges, forests, etc with a mandate to protect the parks “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations,” and to promote their use by all people.

So where does that leave us now?

Just like anything else, not everyone agrees with the idea of protecting and preserving the land and animals that live within the land set aside by the government.  In particular, designated National Monuments – which come into being through the executive branch, under the Antiquities Act, for the purpose of preserving sites on federal lands with significant natural, cultural, or scientific features – have come under fire recently.  The Antiquities Act, however, was specifically created to protect these spaces from OURSELVES.  At the time, precious native american historic sites were defiled and artifacts were being stolen from the lands by treasure hunters to be placed into the hands of private collectors.

The arguments against many of the designated monument lands generally boil down to resources and money.  It costs money to maintain the lands.  The local towns are more and more overwhelmed and their resources are stretched thin to accommodate visitors.  There are natural resources within those lands that someone wants to consume more of – lumber, grazing lands, fossil fuels, etc.  Most recently, the American people have been “loving places to death” and there isn’t enough man-power to stop them….  The list goes on.

But in the end, there is only one argument needed to convince me that these lands need protection though…. Humans.

Now, let me clarify by saying that not all humans are short-sighted or greedy.  And often times environmental damage is done because of limited choices, lack of options, the need to survive.

That being said, it can’t be denied that we only have one planet, and we haven’t always been good stewards.  There are billions of pounds of garbage in the worlds oceans.  We poison and acidify our drinking and recreational waters.  We pollute our air, and then cry foul when our populations develop higher incidences of cancer, asthma and copd. We create environmental dead zones, with our waste killing off millions of birds and animals.  We deforest huge swaths of land without re-planting trees, who are major players in the “you need oxygen to breathe” game.  Most importantly, and humans ignore the fact that we live in a web, where every single thing on this planet is connected to the others.  Food chains are delicate and small changes to environmental conditions can have far-reaching consequences which will likely affect your children.

So while I personally believe there is almost always room for compromise, I also strongly believe that our nationally designated spaces serve an important, long-term, survival-as-a-species function.  They are pockets of hope for future generations.  I hope with my whole heart that we continue to appreciate our wild spaces, and they function they serve not only as a safe haven for our weary souls, but as a space where the other important strands in the web of life can thrive.  I hope we continue to think about the big picture, which is keeping this planet hospitable to our species for as long as possible.

Or at least until we figure out terra-forming and light speed.  We comin’ atcha, Earth 2!

 

Night Lights :: RI

6 Jul
Night Lights :: RI

Night Lights :: RI

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” -Og  Mandino

I’ve recently been spending a lot of time under the stars with my camera. There is a peacefulness that comes from just watching the Milky Way move across the sky, reminding us we are just a small part of something infinitely larger than our daily schedules and obligations. If you find a spare moment on any given evening, I urge to look up and find some perspective. ❤️

Sands of Time :: CO

27 Jun
Sands of Time :: CO

Sands of Time :: CO

“What makes a desert beautiful,’ said the little prince, ‘is that somewhere it hides a well…” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I decided to go a bit dramatic on this one, because I’ve always loved the red filter-Ansel Adams look and it just felt right here. ❤️

This is from the Great Sand Dunes in CO, and spoiler alert…they really were great! 😊

Stargazing :: RI

22 Jun


A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting up with an awesome group of photographers from CT and RI. It’s cheesy, but it was exactly the reason I love photography so much…we started as strangers and before the night was done, we were joking as if we were old friends. Old, under caffeinated, sleep deprived friends. 😋

 

Nerdy Stuff: This is a focus stack of two frames, one for the monocular and one for the Milky Way. Want to know more about shooting the stars or focus stacks? Just ask!

Split :: NY

6 Jun

Split :: NY
A few weeks ago, my friends and I (David, Mel and Matt) had the pleasure of met up in the Adirondacks for a few days of fun and photos (if you follow me on the Instagrams or the Snapchats, you probably saw some of the shenanigans and bts posts).

We got one day of fancy light, and (of course) one day of overcast/rainy weather. You know the old saying though, right? When life hands you rainy lemons, make some waterfall-y lemonade! I’m 1000% certain that’s how the phrase goes.

This, btw, is Split Rock falls. On rainy days, there is only…like…two safe spots to shoot from. As you can guess, most of us chose adventure over safety. I’m not saying I was clinging to a slippery cliff…..earmuffs Mom! (*whispers* but I was definitely doing that. Many many many thanks to Matt for making sure I didn’t get dead!)

The Best Mountain in Southern NH

31 May

A few weeks ago I finally got a chance to hike Mt Monadnock, which I’d stumbled across on the internet about a year before. It did not disappoint. Once you get south of the Greens in VT and the Whites in NH, good mountain views (especially day hikes) are tough to come by in New England….with the exception of Monadnock.

You can read more (and see more pictures) of my trip on the Outbound here.

Special thanks to Jorge for the company (and modeling skillz) on the hike. 😊 When he isn’t hiking w me, he is a barber at a great new shop in Meriden, CT called J.Scott&Co. If you need your hair did, give them a try!