Night sky at Mohican State Park in Loudonville (photo by Zakk Sheehan)

Why We Should All Be Stewards of the Night Sky

Photographer Zakk Sheehan tells of his fascination with photographing starry nights and how he hopes capturing their grandeur helps inspire awareness of their fragility.

I’ve always been fascinated by the night sky. As a child, I loved looking up at the stars and imagining what was out there. From building Lego rockets and checking out every book at the library about space, I was hooked. I wanted to know as much as I could.

I still remember my first attempt at capturing the stars. I set up my tripod in my backyard, pointed my camera toward the sky and clicked the shutter button. When I saw the result, I was amazed. I had captured the stars, and they looked even more beautiful on my camera’s LCD screen than they did with my naked eye.

I wanted more, so I started watching and reading everything I could find about night-sky photography, and I began to experiment with different techniques and equipment. I quickly learned that capturing the stars is not easy. It requires patience (which I don’t have), knowledge and practice, practice, practice.

Over time, my passion for night-sky photography has taken me to some of the most beautiful places in Ohio. Some of these include the shores of Lake Erie, the rolling landscape of the Hocking Hills and my favorite spot: Mohican State Park.

Mohican is where I fell in love with the outdoors. When I was young, I would spend weekend after weekend there fishing, camping and exploring everything the forest had to offer. Today it’s one of my favorite places to shoot. With the vast forest and very limited light pollution, it has the perfect ingredients for dark-sky photography. If you haven’t been there, I suggest grabbing a campsite on the next clear, moonless night.

I’ve spent countless nights under the stars, but my passion for night-sky photography has taught me more than just how to take breathtaking photos. It has shown me the wonder and mystery of the universe. It has reminded me of how small we are in the grand scheme of things and how much there is to explore and discover.

It has also taught me about the importance of preserving our natural world. The night sky is a fragile and precious resource that is increasingly threatened by light pollution. By capturing and sharing its beauty, I hope to raise awareness of the need to protect it for future generations.

Mohican State Park, 3116 St. Rte. 3, Loudonville 44842,