Jon Secord is a landscape photographer based in Meredith, New Hampshire. He loves living in the lakes region of the state, but he finds himself continually drawn back to the coast of Maine, which holds a special place in his heart. That connection to place is tied to memorable childhood summers spent camping with his family on Hermit Island in Phippsburg. And, as his interest in night photography continues to evolve, he returns often to capture the unspoiled beauty of the Maine coast.
The following photographs were all taken on a recent three-week trip to Maine and showcase how beautiful the night sky is without any light pollution. The section of the Milky Way in these photos is the galactic core of our galaxy, which is most visible in the Northern Hemisphere during the summer months. Although the look of the Milky Way changes over the course of the year, the position of it in these photos is similar because they were all taken within a 10 day period around the same time each night. When is the best time to see the Milky Way? Optimal conditions occur about 2 hours after sunset when the moon is new. In June and July, it rises to the south, and moves west over the course of the night. On this trip, Jon would shoot from 10:30pm until around 2am. After that the position of the core would be far enough west that light pollution from Portland and Brunswick would start to wash out detail.
Although the Milky Way is clearly visible to the naked eye along much of the Maine coast, Jon’s camera will pick up significantly more detail over long exposures. These exposures range from 30 seconds to 10 minutes, letting in as much light as possible to expose the foreground and bring out detail in the sky. No significant editing goes into these photos, other than contrast, white balance, minor color, and curve adjustments. In some of these photos, a green glow can be seen in the sky. This is known as Airglow, a chemical reaction in the atmosphere caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Just a few years ago, capturing scenes like this of the Milky Way was all but impossible. However, significant improvements in camera sensors and image editing software have opened up a whole new world for photographers. And, we’re happy to share Jon’s unique work with you in this slide show.
To see more of Jon’s work, please visit his website. jsecordphoto.com
Featured Photographer | August 2014