The unnatural light of the moon

A "blood moon" in eclipse

A “blood moon” in eclipse

Last week’s lunar eclipse was blessed by good weather at the lake and inspired some late-night camera work.  The leaves are nearing peak color and the eclipsed moon added a seasonal touch.

 

An old post on this blog complained about light pollution from the neighboring condominium’s unshielded sodium lights.  The electric company provided an unsympathetic response when challenged on the topic, so this light trespass continues.  Like the full moon, these lights make moving about at night on the Bluecircle easier.  They also contribute interesting effects to night images.

Barn bathed in the full moon and aglow with sodium light

Barn bathed in the full moon and aglow with sodium light filtering through the poplars

At this posting the leaves are raining down in gusts across the lake and the night is starless.  The moonlit grove of black locust below will soon be stripped and ready for the changing season.

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New tracks, new snow, new year

Paw Paw Lake in Fall

Paw Paw Lake in Fall

There’s been no shortage of snow, drifting and cold on the Bluecircle this winter, meaning the cross country skis regularly have a fresh path ahead.   The daily route goes east along one boundary, then downhill to the marsh and back west to the Conservancy.   Last week an unseen hawk left wingprints on takeoff from the dry lake-effect snow, and a red fox skirted the perimeter as he made his way towards the marsh.  There are few footprints on the coldest days; even the deer have taken cover.

The season’s quiet is broken at times by Sophie, an adolescent German Shepard who is the farm’s newest resident.  When she happily bounds through drifts her chest and shoulders leave oval craters in the snow that nearly hide the fact that legs and paws carried her forward.  Sophie would like more rabbits to come dance with her in the snow.  Based on the speed at which she removes stuffing and squeakers from her stuffed toys , this would not end well for the bunnies.IMG_1059

Icy clouds over Coloma

Icy clouds over Coloma

This Bluecircle chronicle lagged behind events in 2013 and left the end of Summer and passage of Autumn behind.  A renovation adding writing space to the not-so-big house overlooking the lake was designed and begun, and the work of forsaking city life for retirement was advanced.   Boxes of books, antiques, clothes and the remaining   garden tools made their way to the garage where some were destined to be discarded, but more made their way to the truck.   Things, images and words forgotten in the past were rediscovered, and sorted anew.   After Autumn’s seasonal changes that demand preparations and rituals of passage for the new year the relative quiet and peace of  long winter nights and ski trails is  welcome.

Are poplars afraid of the dark, or the trespass of sodium lights?

Poplars bathed in a sodium nightlight

Having lived mostly in urban areas it is memorable when the lights go out in the basement and true feel-your-way darkness begins.   Such blackness never occurs outdoors in our cities, and increasingly prevalent “security lighting” is making it difficult to find a dark night even in rural areas.  “Light trespass” is a term used to describe undesirable and sometimes completely unacceptable illumination across property lines  (www.darksky.org/assets/documents/is076.pdf ).  In recent years several Michigan communities with long histories of tourism and respect for the environment have enacted ordinances that regulate outdoor lighting, especially when it creates glare or encroaches on property lines.  Do trees, the permanent residents of this hillside,  mind this sort of nightlighting?

For people, it will be several years before the poplars planted just south of this powerful “security beacon” provide sufficient screening to make campfires or any recreational use of this area enjoyable even in summer.   In the meantime the “sodium cityscape” is on display.

An unshielded streetlight-type luminare placed too high and close to the property line produces light trespass