Leelanau News and Events

Soak Up Leelanau’s Night Sky

By Emily Tyra | June 29, 2020

An exhibit celebrating Leelanau’s dark sky opens July 16, 5-7pm at the Village Art Building, 301 North Mill Street in Northport. The Northport Arts Association exhibit runs through July 22, 12-4pm daily, with several ways to immerse in the night sky during the week — including a workshop to photograph the Milky Way with renowned photographer Sheen Watkins. This art exhibit was originally a part of a weeklong celebration scheduled in April with the support of the Northport Dark Sky Committee, a side group of the Leelanau Energy whose members are committed to maintaining the quality of the region’s night skies

A new version of the week has been recreated for families and patrons of the arts. Here are more details:

July 16-July 22 Enchanting Night Sky Exhibit at Village Art Building, Northport
Artists were asked to create images that highlight the idea of preserving the dark sky to enhance the viewing of the stars, planets and moon at night. The show will be available to the public, with social distancing protocols July 16 from 5 to 7pm then each day from noon to 4pm through July 22.

July 16 Night Sky Photography Workshop
Leelanau photographer Sheen Watkins hosts a limited group to help participants photograph the Milky Way in all its glory. The workshop will be held at Woosley Airport or Peterson Park beginning at 9:30pm. Sign up at NorthportArtsAssociation.org is essential.

Says Watkins about the particular draw of Leelanau County’s skies as an artist and photographer: “Here, in Leelanau County, when the day shifts from our golden hour to the blue hour everything changes. Our night skies constantly change and move. At twilight, skies turn sapphire blue. Stars start popping into view like popcorn. The Milky Way moves across the sky just like the sun with a streaming glow. From a photographer’s perspective, it’s when time stands almost still. Our pace changes. Our shutter speeds slow down so we can pull the light into our images. When capturing stars, the Milky Way — shutter speeds range up to about 20-25 seconds."

She adds, "With apps on our smartphone and with clear skies, we find constellations we never knew existed. Night skies inspire us to stop, think, observe and create. What I share with others about the night sky is just go. You’ll never regret your time underneath our clear, velvety night skies.”  

For more night sky events with the Northport Arts Association, including poetry workshops, storytelling, and music and info on how to participate, please go to northportartsassociation.org or email Northportartsforall@gmail.com

Photogtaphy by Sheen Watkins 



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