Dark Skies – A Comparison thru Photographs between Light Polluted Sky and Unadulterated Dark Sky

The light pollution may not look as a big problem from the outside but it has been proved that the excessive light thrown out creates health issues to human beings. Scientific evidence suggests that artificial light at night has negative and deadly effects on many creatures including amphibians, birds, mammals, insects and plants which depend on natural day light and star light for their activities. Here are 5 photographs with 5 different level of light pollution plotted against Milky Way.

Gaining Cosmic Energy –  This is a perspective of gaining the cosmic energy from such a beautiful location Mono Lake with literally no light pollution from surrounding towns and the sky turns up with all the details possible of our Universe!! It was taken with a 50mm lens on a full frame with 15s exposure with ISO 3200 without tracking.


Mono Milky Way – This is again from Mono Lake taken on the same night but after an hour when Milky Way moved south from South East, and this time it is over the lake with lights from the small town of Lee Vining which acts as a distraction along with some very little light coming from far off place which might’ve been created from the wild fire which started on the same night over Yosemite National Park last summer.


Double Arch – Galactic Milky way arched nicely over the Earthly Arch Rock in Joshua Tree National Park during an eventful night when my wife standing inside the Arch saw several meteors striking the earths atmosphere. We listened to Coyotes singing and supposedly Mountain Lion Purrs and Meows!! This panorama shot stitched together with 7 single exposure vertical photographs. The small light domes seen here are an indication that there are some lights far from the place which creates these domes. Larger the dome larger is the light pollution from near by cities.

Blue Ridge Parkway – This was my first milky way shot of the 2015 season!! It was a sad story to start when nothing went right when I wanted to time-lapse  the moon set and milky way rise over the blue ridge Looking Glass Rock, eventually it turned out the roads were closed. Clueless what next, went to looking glass falls to catch the milky way but it turned up it was very hard to control shadows of waterfalls to the light polluted bright sky. Then I had the urge to at least see the milky way with my eyes for all the effort I had taken and wanted to give it a try once again at 5AM and hence drove back all the way again to blue ridge parkway.  There were lights from many small resorts and towers all across the mountain valley on the way up and hence I drove to the top of that intersection where the road was closed, and to my surprise Milky Way was visible against so much of light pollution from near by cities.

Monument Night Sky – Here is an example of how the light pollution and clouds can make the night sky viewing even more worse. Clouds tend to stick on to the light thrown at it from the lights of towns and it worsens the impact of light pollution on the viewers. When the clouds are not seen while star gazing, it means its an unpolluted place, and where it can be seen with such colors it means its a light polluted place.

Also, excessive usage of light in the night just increases the usage of energy there by increases the demand/shortage for power. And as per International Dark Sky Association (IDA) : “We do need some light at night, but much of it is wasted by lights that are overly bright or left on when not needed. Unshielded fixtures waste the most energy. Their lights shine upward instead of down on the ground where it’s needed. In fact, IDA estimates that that up to 50 percent of all outdoor light is wasted. That adds up to $3.3 billion and the release of 21 million tons of CO2 per year! To offset all that CO2, we’d have to plan 875 million trees annually”. Hence I ventured out to capture the beauty of the night sky to spread the word to the masses to show what the city dwellers like myself have been missing.  Hence this small comparison of the Light Pollution.