Photographing the Disappearing Stars

For me, it’s the sounds and the stars at night that make the evening out shooting so much fun. It’s one of the highlights of the trip to the family farm.

We used to visit the farm on the west coast regularly when we lived in South Africa. My father-in-law farms Rooibos tea, and my brother-in-law and his wife also provide meats to the community.

When we go, it’s almost a guaranteed open sky during the night, with a light, cool breeze against the skin and the sound of crickets trying to find their partners.

I am no pro at star photography, but it surely is one of the most magical photography types. As this video indicates, our lights are making it very hard to see the stars today.

You can try to wonder what it must’ve been like walking under the stars in an era only lit by candles, walking through the city streets with the person you had a crush on next to you. What thoughts and states of wonder the people who lived then must’ve had.

Unfortunately, the romantic aspect of looking at the stars is not that easy to experience today. I live in Paris, and I can create stories of a couple walking over a bridge crossing the Seine river, but if I could add in the stars, it would give the story so much more dimension.

Is it possible to regain the ability to view the stars at night? Can we change the lights we have somehow? Can you make a difference in any way, and if so, will you?

Do you do star photography? Share some photos in the comments and let’s show what we’re currently missing out on.

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8 Comments

Andrea Re Depaolini's picture

A couple of weekends ago I was in Abruzzo (Italy) with a friend of mine to visit National Physics Labs as he is a scientist studying dark matter. These labs are inside Gran Sasso NP and that means very few light-pollution so I couldn't miss on the opportunity to shoot some astrophotography, my friend decided to join me, well it was a first for him and he literally thanked me for the experience. In these moments I always find myself hypnotized with my nose up.

Gilmour Dickson's picture

I am fortunate to live in a National Park in Zambia and there is zero light pollution. The orange glow visible in this panorama is from a distant wildfire. Conditions are right over the next few days to get a few more done.

Gilmour Dickson's picture

Another one. As the Kafue river drops in the rather special area around our lodge it leaves pools no longer flowing. This site I need to revisit and try and get a panorama and more foreground exposure and blend.

Fighting vs lightpollution in south Italy, near Castelmezzano

https://500px.com/photo/309930731

Jason Lorette's picture

Cool video...if you can actually get somewhere dark enough to see the stars with just your eyes, the milky way even...it is quite an awe inspiring thing.

I live a bit north of Denver, Colorado. The light pollution there is very bright. It takes at least a 2 hour drive to find dark skies, you can go east to the plains or west into the mountains but dark spots still exist in the western USA. I use the website darksitefinder.com to locate them. Here's an image I took earlier this month (July) when the moon was less than half and had just set below the horizon. I usually plan my trips around the time of the new moon to get the best chance to see the darkness. At 10,000 feet elevation with no moon, the stars are so bright they cast shadows.

Richie Bednarski's picture

I recently worked with a few agencies and got a portion of the Northwestern corner of Nevada designated as an official Dark Sky Sanctuary but the International dark Sky Association. It made me a better amateur astronomer and nighttime photographer.

When in the Navy I always loved going out on deck at night and looking at the stars. It gets very dark about 1000 miles out into the Atlantic. It's so dark you can't see your hand in front of you for about 20 minutes as your eyes acclimate to the starlight. Amazing....