Looking Up

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The Badlands: Storm’s a-brewin’ (Fall 2016)

Looking up.

Aggressive sunrises,

Dappled clouds.

Hypnotic blues, grays, and in-betweens.

Sunsets that steal the show,

A finale that receives accolades

and encores.

While stars creep in, a vast party that

Pulses with old light

Eyes search out for splendor,

Sky that grounds me.

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Grand Tetons: Wispy clouds (Fall 2016)

Throughout my travels, both national and abroad, I have always made a point to look up. Depending on weather patterns, the time of day, and other factors that I might pretend to understand, the sky can be pretty darn fascinating. It remains an adjusting constant that gently pulls my attention from the goings-on at ground-level. Whether city or country, mountains or beach, day or night, I have always enjoyed the limitlessness that the atmosphere has to offer, unhindered by grids or grounds.

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Great Sand Dunes: A delightful sunset (Summer 2016)

Lately, the winter weather has put a damper on my spirits, weighing me down with an in-between grogginess. A white blanket of snow would be fantastic! Or perhaps a warm, balmy day? Instead, it seems that the chilly rain and foggy haze is intent on putting a pause on outdoor adventures. Yet even on the “worst” of days, I can go outside, in the middle of suburbia, and spot a big, round, full moon that seems to smile back at me. I can spot a sunrise orb peeking out in between buildings, ready to warm up my earth for a little that day. I can watch cirrus clouds wisp through the air, waving as they cascade across my viewpoint.

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Antigua, Guatemala (Summer 2018)

Yes, the sky is quite phenomenal, a pleasant reminder of the beautiful and ever-changing world.

Looking up has its advantages.

You should try it more often.

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Dark Sky

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Great Basin national park is in the middle of nowhere. Driving towards the park on highway 50 (dubbed The Loneliest Road in America) was quite an experience. It’s easy to become wrapped up in the separateness of it all. Isolation, but not loneliness, seemed to mark the surrounding countryside. I cruised along happily, towing Clarence the MyPod behind me while trying to find a radio station. I passed only one other vehicle in the span of an hour and then rolled into Baker, NV: population 50.

This tiny town sits outside one of the least visited national parks in the U.S. It’s no wonder, considering how off the beaten path it is. Yet being so far removed has its benefits. Less crowds? Yep. More “alone time” with nature? Check. An incredibly beautiful night sky that is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before? Oh yeah.

The Dark Sky Association is an organization that focuses on preserving a valuable resource that many of us don’t realize is endangered: the night sky. Light pollution is growing at rapid rates, and many of the children being born this year will never see the Milky Way. Because it has no city-light contamination, Great Basin boasts some of the best starry skies in America. On a cloudless night, there is sparkling beauty as far as the eye can see.

As most photographers know, it’s extremely difficult to get good shots of stars. Do a Google image search of “Great Basin national park night sky” and let your world be rocked! And next time you get a chance, go outside and appreciate the sky. Even if you’re unable to see many stars, take a moment to derive as much aesthetic pleasure from this invaluable resource as possible.