We live in a city with an estimated 37 million light bulbs, and most of them are on all the time. So being able to look up into the dark night sky and see the constellations—or really, any stars—is an experience we New Yorkers don’t get often. It’s only when we travel far outside the reaches of the five boroughs that we can catch glimpses of Orion’s belt. And this is the week to witness the night, with the equinox and a full solar eclipse occurring on the same day, quickly followed by a total lunar eclipse in just a few weeks. With all of these astrological happenings and celestial events colliding in the cosmos, we’ve been turning our eyes to the skies and enjoying the night.
The image that spurred this recent fixation of ours was 20x200 artist Pete Mauney’s video and photos of the Northern Lights as seen from Hudson Valley. Our first thought was, OH WOW SO PRETTY and then our second thought was… you can see the Northern Lights from Hudson Valley?! It was the realization that something that has always felt rare and elusive was streaking across the sky an hour outside of the bright lights of NYC. Pete Mauney calls himself a “night person”, but he’s more than that: he’s a master at capturing the light you can find in the dark. His two 20x200 editions are both images of fireflies on the rural back roads of upstate New York and the hundreds of small dots of light resemble star-filled galaxies or the grid of a glowing city.
Northern Lights, Hudson Valley by Pete Mauney
Mauney isn’t the only light chaser who works better in the dark. While he chases the natural light of fireflies, many other artists focus on the lights along highways, on signs, and glowing colorfully in amusement parks. The night can highlight what is often overlooked in the daylight and can be the stage for a spectacular display. As the sun sets and the moon rises, lights go on all over the world and the sky lights up. Whether seen from outer space or your own backyard, over an entire night or in a moment, the darkness is inviting and beautiful. All you have to do is turn out the light…