Light Pollution

Light Pollution: Light reflected on clouds at night
Light Pollution
You may licence this photo at EyeEm

Light Pollution by Mike Jackobo

It has been a long time since I last presented a photograph in the photoblog. I think that it is the time to finally resume a normal upload schedule here. This is the first photo of the bunch; the theme today is light pollution.

Light pollution is a subject I am pretty interested in. In the last couple of years, astrophotography has become a passion of mine. There are so many things to discover and capture in the night sky. Doing so requires time, patience, clear skies and most importantly, darkness. Unfortunately, the latter is somewhat of a luxury in a western country.

Humans are daylight creatures. A human is a vulnerable creature and in darkness we are in a complete disadvantage. So, naturally, we were always trying to brink more light in out life. For the majority of human history (and prehistory) our artificial light wasn’t much of a problem. It was contained in our settlements and it wasn’t bright enough to have adverse effects in the natural cycle of day and night.

Things began to change after the invention of the light bulb. Suddenly we could create more light and with a spectrum that could reflect all the visible colours. And we begun installing light bulbs everywhere. Technology progressed and we could create cheaper electricity and more powerful light bulbs. So we installed more lights. Without noticing it, we lost the magic of the night sky. In our cities we always see a blue sky; light blue during the day and dark blue during the night. This also creates serious problems in how our bodies function.

Here is a link for more information on how our modern lifestyle influences negatively our bodies (scroll to the bottom for the audio player).

Another link to a talk regarding light pollution

About the photo

The place I made this photo used to be a good location for astrophotography. It wasn’t ideal but it was dark enough for most celestial objects -especially towards the west. That was until a new motorway was built. Now, there is a major junction of the motorway and a toll station in the area. In fact, the orange lights are from the toll station. Their lights have added much more ambient light in the area. Don’t get me wrong, the motorway was a positive construction project for the area. There are just some things that could have been done more clever. The white light must come from a fishing harbour nearby. It isn’t always on but when it is, it totally ruins the atmosphere.

The night I made the photo, I knew I couldn’t do anything astrophotography related because of the clouds. I went there just for the quiet and to check if anything was possible under better weather conditions. There was some disappointment for the situation but the effect of the light leaking to the sky on the clouds presented a photo opportunity I couldn’t let pass. I especially like the contrast between the warm light of the toll station and the cool light from the harbour which adds an element of depth in the composition.

I will close this article with a link to an astro photo I made in that place a few years ago.

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