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Tag Archives: IDA

Landscape astrophotography.  Say that 10 times fast!

What is it, you ask.  Here’s the definition, quoted from the TWAN website:  “a style of photography…showing both the Earth and the sky—by combining elements of the night sky set against the Earth horizon with backdrop of a notable location or landmark.”

The image above, “Orion Setting Over Ladyface,” is one I took in Agoura Hills, California in 2008.  It does NOT meet the criteria of a “notable location or landmark,” even though the mountain, part of the Santa Monica Mountains, has a name.

It’s also NOT a good image, not sharp, and with tons of “noise.”  But it’s the closest thing I’ve got to landscape astrophotography that illustrates how light pollution dims our view of the stars.

I know I only just posted about IDA (International Dark-Sky Association) not quite two weeks ago, but I’m passionate about reducing light pollution, and Yahoo News today posted the winner of the TWAN photo competition, so here we are again.

OK, so who are these TWAN people?  TWAN stands for ” The World At Night.”  It’s an organization similar to IDA,   dedicated to reducing light pollution so that our night skies can be seen and admired.  And their site features a beautiful photo gallery (of landscape astrophotography, what else?) that shows how our night skies are SUPPOSED to look.  Check out:

http://www.twanight.org/newTWAN/galleries_page.asp

The TWAN  landscape astrophotography competition is called The International Earth and Sky Photo Contest.  The winning shot is by a California photographer, and features a night sky shot from the shore of Mono Lake, with a dramatic foreground of tufa towers.

I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but I only post my own images on my blog.  There are copyright laws that must be obeyed.  But don’t just take my word that it’s an awesome image.  Check out:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_localsfo/20110607/ts_yblog_localsfo/northern-california-photo-a-winner-in-international-contest

The image below was taken on the San Mateo County coast in California.  It’s a rural area, but you can see how much light pollution spills “over the hill,” as locals call the more populated half of the San Francisco Peninsula.

I dream of living in an area where I can truly see “billions and billions of stars” as opposed to a few paltry dozen.

But most urban areas can take steps to reduce the light pollution they generate.  Check out the TRAN and IDA websites when you have a few minutes.

In the meantime, I’m going to ponder where I can travel next to get some good landscape astrophotography images, and start saving my pennies:  it’ll take at least a full tank of gas each way to get there!

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Do you enjoy looking at the moon and stars at night, as I do?

Do you enjoy shooting them, as I do?

Do you wish that you could see the objects in the night sky more clearly, as I do?

Is your neighborhood or town beset by unnecessary light pollution from poor streetlight design, as mine is?

Is your property nightly flooded with blinding light due to inconsiderate neighbors’ outdoor lighting techniques (the “some is good, more is better” philosophy), as mine is?

Can you see the Milky Way from your home, or only when you’re camping?

Please check out http://www. darksky.org for a good explanation of why light pollution control and the use of downlighting make a community more livable and safer.

The site is sponsored by the IDA, the International Dark-Sky Association.

Without a dark sky, images like this eclipse shot are all but impossible.

So let there NOT be unnecessary and overly bright lighting at night…

Let the stars and moon shine in all their glory!