Explore: Torrance Barrens – The dark place

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Staring up at the night sky and looking at the stars is very soothing. The mind can meander and relax. When a meteorite rushes overhead, the child inside of us all points and exclaims in a loud whisper “there it is!” Then silence falls again while people wait patiently, for the next flash of light.

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August is usually the best month to look up to the Ontario sky; and see the annual Perseid meteor shower. August 13th was due to be the best day of 2015 for viewing. According to reports, it was to be a moonless night with around 50 meteors plus, per hour, that would be visible to the naked eye. There would also be little, to no, cloud coverage. I was compelled to make some images. Being in Toronto, the light pollution stops the meteors being visible to the naked eye; the light highlights the sky to a point where it is very tough to see even the stars, I needed to change my location.

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193.1 km north of Toronto, near the lakes of Muskoka, and down one of the longest, winding roads I have ever driven; is a dark place. It is so dark, in fact, that it is actually a registered Dark-Sky Preserve. Torrance Barrens was established in 1999, as the first permanent Canadian dark sky preserve. It is an area that is kept free of light pollution and allows star gazers, astronomers and photographers a very dark sky to enjoy. The Milky Way,  star constellations and the other wonders of the night, such as the Aurora Borealis, become more visible to the eye and even more so to a camera’s sensor.

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The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) has set formal guidelines and requirements for an area, such as Torrance Barrens, to become a certified Dark Sky Preserve (DPS):

“A Dark-Sky Preserve is an area in which no artificial lighting is visible and active measures are in place to educate and promote the reduction of light pollution to the public and nearby municipalities. Sky glow from beyond the borders of the Preserve will be of comparable intensity, or less, to that of natural sky glow.”

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It was very dark when we arrived at Torrance Barrens, and there were a lot of people camping out. The atmosphere was electric. Everybody was whooping and hollering when a meteor flew overhead. People were trading photography tips and everybody was having a great time. The weather was favourable, the sky was extremely dark and the colours in the night sky were INCREDIBLE !

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There were a lot of photographers perched on the shore of the Highland Pond, aiming to create images of the beautiful sky reflecting in the still, glass like water. Amid the silence, shutters could be heard whirring away, as time-lapse videos and long exposure images were being made.

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Ghostly selfie 🙂

Our time was short, but Torrance Barrens is an incredible place and well worth the visit. It had a great feel to it; and was full of friendly people all in the same place for the same reason. The sky really was so dark, it was hard to believe that I had left Toronto only a couple of hours earlier.

Have you been to Torrance Barrens ? Do you have any images to share ? Do you want to head there to make some cool images ? I am keen to go back when there is a possibility of an Aurora Borealis or another meteor shower.

Let me know in the comments box below 🙂



And remember to follow my journey 🙂

Instagram: @pauliespics

#paulies365   #explorewithpaul   #paulkporterphotography

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