Night Photography: Light Pollution

A few years ago life had taken me to north western Colorado.  This is a region of the country where counties are larger than some eastern states but only have a population around ten or fifteen thousand people.  Clear nights give wonderful views of the Milky Way.  Yet at the same time there is still light pollution.  Even when I was thirty miles or more from the closest town, let alone more than 50 from the closest town with a stoplight there would be sources of light.  Be it the light from a rancher’s summer camp, a stray tourist (likely also there for the stars) or cities over the horizon.  So, look at the images below and think of how different they are.  One is pointed towards the summer camp of a rancher, the other away from it, think about the difference and then think about how much light your house is showing at night.  We’ve all seen photos from NASA’s Space Shuttle where the cities are lit up like pearls across the globe.  We are the reason for that light, and it’s not the sort Jesus is talking about keeping out from under a bushel. Notice the difference between these photos and the photo on Monday.  While there is a great deal of light pollution in each image, the amount in this image is different.  That is in large part because the amount of time the shutter was open a much shorter period of time.  Remember that in Monday’s photo the shutter was open eight minutes.  In this photo it was open 10 seconds.  The light pollution coming from the ranch camp (those spots towards the right) would be as bright or brighter then the moon if the shutter had been open nearly that long.

Light pollution damages the view of the Milky Way on a summers night in Colorado.

Light pollution damages the view of the Milky Way on a summers night in Colorado.

The Milky Way lights up against a moonless sky.

The Milky Way lights up against a moonless sky.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Photography - The American West, Photography- Night Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s