Too much artificial light, too little real darkness—it’s a modern problem that’s easy to fix. Mostly what’s missing is awareness. John Ashley visually describes these issues while time-travelling through Montana history.
Less than 150 years after Edison’s first light bulb patent, dark skies at night are being lost all across the globe. Without humans realizing it, the Milky Way is being traded for an alien orange glow that smothers the stars. Plants and animals evolved with darkness for millennia. This relatively sudden shift to brighter nights is causing human health problems and ecological havoc for many of the plants and animals with which humans share their little planet.
John Ashley is a Montana photographer, author, biologist and educator. In 1977, Ashley’s grandmother gave him $200 to start his college fund. Instead, Ashley used the money to buy his first 35mm camera. Then he used the camera to put himself through college. He earned a biology degree from the University of Montana and became an award-winning photo-journalist at newspapers in Florida and Montana. Ashley also worked as a field biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and National Park Service to conserve California Condors, Bald Eagles, Common Loons and Harlequin Ducks.
Earlier this year, John published his new book, Glacier National Park After Dark, Sunset to Sunrise in a Beloved Montana Wilderness. He lives at the end of the road near Kila, about an hour west of Glacier National Park. To learn more about John Ashley’s photography, visit http://www.johnashleyfineart. com/. Read his Montana natural history blog at http://wildandfreemontana. blogspot.com/.