14th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Sustainable Travel
Lightning and Stars from Enchanted Rock

The Texas Parks and Wildlife department offers star gazing and photography workshops at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Enchanted Rock is designated as an International Dark Sky Park. 80% of Americans can no longer see the Milky Way, where they live, due to light pollution. Parks like Enchanted Rock make a concerted effort to keep artificial lights to a minimum and install the types of lights that cause minimal light pollution. They also serve as a resource to educate travelers to the park about light pollution. To me a sustainable travel project has elements of preserving the natural beauty of our planet and beyond, as well as education for those visiting, in order to appreciate and partake in stewardship of the natural world. In my photo the unique combination of the Milky Way, a shooting star, and the lighting storm were able to be captured because a unique opportunity. I was able to climb to the top of monolith that is Enchanted Rock, and enjoy a view that is beyond compare, largely due to the preservation of the dark sky. These conditions are disappearing at record speed in America today. This photo represents the opportunity to take in the night skies for generations to come.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 07.2016
Date Uploaded: 11.2016
Photo Location: Llano, Texas, United States of America
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Copyright: © saskia Vaughan