Tag Archives: astrophotography

Starlight Sonata :: CO

11 Sep
Starlight Sonata :: CO

Starlight Sonata :: CO

I frequently wonder if I’m doing enough to make this world better. Am I recycling and conserving water? Am I speaking up about serious topics like conservation and equality? Am I leading by example?

The answers to those questions are both yes and no. I am doing those things, but I feel like I can do more.

The world is a spectacular place and for some people, a photograph is the closest they will get to seeing some of the beauty our world has to offer. There is something gratifying about knowing I’m able to give that gift to people through my images.

That being said, I think there is opportunity for photos to be more than just a passing like or comment or wallpaper. Sometimes I see shots that make my heart flutter (currently obsessed with @nlwirth ‘s tree work for example). I think that connection is the start of something magical. If you can make people love something, then they’ll work to protect it. Yeah, yeah, logically we KNOW we are harming our planet (our ONLY place to live, I might add) but it’s easy to shrug it off as our children’s problem. Or to rationalize current wants despite the consequences. But when you LOVE something you’ll be driven to protect it.

That is what I think a landscape photographer can be. They can be part of something bigger than a “pretty” or “gramable” shot. Photography can be a vehicle for change. So when I ask myself if I’m doing enough, I need to also think about the current political climate and policies, the attitudes towards keeping our planet healthy enough to sustain life, the voiceless who need help to retain their basic human rights and dignities…

Without question, I can do more. We all can do more.

This is Independence Pass in CO. And that is what night skies without much light pollution look like.😍

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Migration :: CO

26 Jun
Migration :: CO

Migration :: CO

“It’s your pasture now, and it’s not so big–only three thousand miles from east to west, only two thousand miles from north to south–but all between, where ten thousand points of light prick out the cities, towns, and villages, there, seeker, you will find us burning in the night” -Thomas Wolfe

To me, this photo is one of journey and transition, like the snow melt’s path down the mountain. Similarly, like many Americans, I’ve been deeply troubled by the recent zero tolerance policy at the border that infringes on the human rights of children. Am I glad the practice of separating families has stopped for the moment? Yes. Am I concerned about the welfare of the 2000+ children in detention facilities since May? Yes. Am I worried the most recent executive order flies in the face of the court precedent preventing detention for longer than 20 days? Yes.

Do I have a solution? No.

I do know that thinking in absolutes is dangerous though. Very little in life is 100% black and white, and this idea that to be strong, we must give up compassion is immature. Compromise is a way forward. Understanding is a way forward. We are a nation of immigrants, many of whom were seeking asylum themselves. It’s foolhardy to label all asylum seekers as dangerous criminals and its unethical to treat people as animals or monsters. While I agree crossing borders illegally is, well, illegal…I also recognize we have a complex and confusing immigration system.

Do I want safeguards and background checks and asylum hearings in place? Yes. But I can I understand the urgency of some refugees situation that puts them in the difficult position of choosing to cross illegally? Also a yes.

I don’t know where the middle ground here is but my heart tells me without any doubts that our morals and ethical standards, and our compassion for people in need, should not be forsaken. I hope our Congress (contact your reps) can have some meaningful conversations in the coming days and get those children reunited with their families soon.

The Walk to Eternity :: CT

6 Jun

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In most areas of the East Coast of the US, light pollution is so prevalent that many people have gone their entire lives without every having seen the Milky Way. They don’t realize what they’re missing because to them, that’s just normal. Because it’s normal, they also don’t realize all of the problems that come along with light pollution- disrupted circadian rhythms and the health problems associated with that, disruption in migration patterns and growth cycles for flora and fauna, behavioral changes in animals, etc.

In a discussion I had with another photographer recently, another tragic consequence of light pollution is that people don’t get to experience the feeling of connection and perspective that comes from looking up at the night sky and realizing we are just a small part of a massive universe. We are beautiful specks of Star dust who have been given a precious gift – the opportunity to live our life on a rare habitable planet – and we shouldn’t take that for granted. Rather, through the stars, we should be reminded to live our lives as fully and beautifully as we are able.

This particular shot was taken last week in a little swath of dark-ish sky in CT. I had the joy of teaching night sky photography, and watching my student’s love for photographing the night sky grow in front of my eyes. It was a lovely experience. ❤️

Best of 2017

27 Dec

 

This year, I chose my “best of” based on the memories I was lucky enough to have made.  It was a year of great trips (courtesy of some flight credits I had to use up before they expired) and I am beyond thankful I was able to see England, Northern Ireland and Ireland, Chincoteague ponies, Great Sand Dunes in Colorado, the many nights I spent under the stars with friends, the eclipse, the Adirondacks and Iceland (northern light, heeellllooo). I am grateful for these opportunities and for having good friends to make these memories with. ❤

2017 had its difficult parts, and I am definitely hoping 2018 shows improvement in some areas…but I am thankful.  Cheers to a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!

Invasion :: Iceland

12 Dec
Invasion :: Iceland

Invasion :: Iceland

You know what’s incredible about Iceland?

Almost everything. Except the abundance of tourists. Particularly those who don’t respect the culture and beautiful spaces there.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Iceland and would go back in a heartbeat. But I saw so many dangerous, rude and disrespectful things, even among my fellow photographers, which made me quite embarrassed for the lot of us. As a landscape photographer, I take protecting our collective “office” (aka nature, and access to spaces) pretty seriously. I love the fact that we are lucky enough to see, capture and share the beauty in this world and a few bad tourists have the ability to ruin it for the rest of us.

Do I love that the world is more connected and more people have access to see these wild, gorgeous spaces? Absolutely. But I hope more people will take care to respect those spaces. For example, maybe don’t cross the ropes to hang off of the edge of an eroding cliff or canyon overhang. Or, say, get too close to a beach known for rogue waves that drags people out to sea. Or…well…any of the bad behaviors you read about. Do your research, respect the culture and spaces, and we all win.

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.

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. ❤️