Marblehead Lighthouse on night sky and Matt Shiffler (inset)
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3 Great Ohio Spots for Night-Sky Photos

Cleveland photographer Matt Shiffler shares a few of his favorite places for starry nights.

As a professional photographer and owner of a gallery in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood, I love capturing images of people, beautiful Ohio landscapes and the night sky. Looking up at a vast expanse of stars can be profound, and stargazing and night photography are experiences everyone can enjoy. When it comes to the best places in Ohio for it, here are a few of my favorites and some advice on how you can get great results, too.

Marblehead Lighthouse: This historic structure, built along Lake Erie in 1821, is the longest continuously operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes. It’s also a favorite for night photography. Catch it on a clear and moonless evening and you’ll be set for some awesome photos. Be sure to visit cleardarksky.com to double-check your sky conditions before heading out. 110 Lighthouse Dr., Marblehead 43440, marbleheadlighthouseohio.org

Observatory Park: Geauga County is home to our state’s only dark-sky park and one of fewer than 100 places in the world certified by the International Dark-Sky Association. Observatory Park offers a family-friendly, interactive environment with six walking trails and more than 1,100 acres. It’s home to two telescopes and special events are scheduled throughout the year. 10610 Clay St., Montville 44064, geaugaparkdistrict.org

Wayne National Forest: Ohio’s only national forest sees some of the darkest night skies in the state and it has many fields, barns and bridges to use as a foreground. See how your subject lines up with the Milky Way using the Photopills app. Grab a tripod and a fast lens (around f/2.8) and experiment with settings. I find 20 to 25 seconds, ISO 3200 at f/2.8 will get you close. Set your camera on manual, aimed near infinity, and take your shot. fs.usda.gov/wayne

To see more photos, visit mattshifflerphotography.com.

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