The urban nightscape New Moon captures the blueish skyglow of Rotterdam on photographic film. To avoid any external light (pollution), the photograph is recorded at a new lunar cycle. A ‘New Moon’ occurs when the moon is directly between the Earth and the Sun, with its shadowed side pointing towards us. Except for a handful of stars, the only visible light is coming from human generated sources—the city’s aura.
For capturing this image, I used the technical settings in combination with the right weather and seasonal conditions which are recommended to photograph the natural phenomenon Aurora Borealis. A spectacle much appreciated by outdoor photographers. With the focus to infinity and a slow shutter speed, I pointed my large format camera to the city’s skyline from the darkest place possible.
Galileo Galilei coined the term "aurora borealis" after Aurora, the Roman goddess of morning. He had the misconception that the auroras he saw were due to sunlight reflecting from the atmosphere. The light phenomenon in this image can be perceived until the dawn of the morning.
A variety of little stars lit up at night.
A constellation brought down to earth.
Arrayed in a grid that washes away, as Henry Beston wrote, “the holiness and beauty of the night”.
‘A walk in the Dark’ provides city strolls to explore artificial brightness at night. Together with a detailed map you can align the routes for overlay information on crime, bio diversity loss, population.
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Recorded conversation with Vincent Sterne:
While walking on one of the six dot-to-dot signature routes, I’m with Vincent Sterne. Vincent graduated in Phenology (a branch of Ecology that deals with biological cycles) and is devoted to investigating the impact of light pollution on natural habitats. He’s an amateur astronomer and a lover of the stars. During our walks, we talked about how artificial illumination endangers our environment and is damaging ecosystems in latent processes. Through my research on the brightness of our nights, I realised the ambiguity in the narrative surrounding artificial illumination. It’s obvious that well-lit environments provide a sense of security, doubtlessly lights are essential in crime prevention. They add a visible layer of safety. But within this safe dome of light, an invisible layer of danger is causing serious and irreversible threats for humans, plants, and animals. Luckily, I crossed paths with Vincent and I’m grateful that he is willing to share his knowledge along the way while discussing this sensitive topic.