This shot of the iconic D.H. Day barn in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore from a couple of days ago is beautiful, dramatic and … wrong. While the orange looks cool against the deep blue, it’s a very visible reminder that our night skies suffer from serious light pollution, even in our most preserved spaces. I encourage everyone to learn about night-sky friendly outdoor lighting options and to advocate in your community for better lighting decisions.
On a less preachy note, if you’re in the Traverse City/Sleeping Bear area tonight, the National Lakeshore is hosting the latest in their “Find Your Park After Dark” night sky events from 9-11 PM at the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive #3 Overlook. They write:
All sky programs offered by the National Lakeshore are free. Participants need only purchase the Park Entrance Pass or have an Annual Pass displayed in their vehicle to join in the fun. Programs will be cancelled if the sky is not visible due to weather conditions. The decision to cancel is usually made three hours in advance. Please call 231-326-4700, ext. 5005, for a voicemail message with the decision. For all evening astronomy events, bring a flashlight for the walk back to your car and bug spray, if needed. Park rangers and Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS) staff will wear red glow bracelets at the events.
Each special event takes place at a different location throughout the National Lakeshore to take advantage of strategic viewing opportunities. You can come for star-gazing, eclipses, meteor showers, solar viewing, and storytelling. These events are the perfect opportunity to Find Your Park in the stars. Starry night skies and natural darkness are important components of the special places the National Park Service protects. National parks hold some of the last remaining harbors of darkness and provide an excellent opportunity to experience this endangered resource.
“Harbors of darkness” – what a cool turn of phrase! Head over to the National Lakeshore’s website for more about this and upcoming events.
Over at her blog, the Rapid City Recess, Heather writes about her experience shooting at night with two other photographers – I encourage you to read it.