Expert Voices

Maine's Magnificent Dark Skies (Gallery)

Beauty indescribable

Mike Taylor/Mike Taylor Photography

Mike Taylor has been a landscape and studio photographer for over 20 years and teaches night photography and processing technique workshops for the public. Taylor contributed this article to's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

The incredible landscape and dark skies of Maine offer great opportunities for amateur and professional astrophotographers alike to capture awe-inspiring images of the night sky. Maine has arguably the least amount of light pollution on the entire East Coast of the United States. I have lived here for almost 10 years, and I am still amazed every time I stare up at Maine's sky while my camera is clicking away.

These images show some of the great spots in the Pine Tree state where a bit of planning and some luck can produce extraordinary results.

Iridium Flare Milky Way II

Mike Taylor/Taylor Photography

A bright flash from an Iridium flare, the Milky Way, rolling cloud cover and an incredible amount of light pollution photographed from the Maine western mountains.

3 Vertical Images II

Mike Taylor/Mike Taylor Photography

Left Image: This is a 7 image vertical panorama of a spot in Knox, Maine where the late-summer Milky Way makes a dramatic background for a small shack beneath a cell tower — the tower's light emits a red hue over the landscape throughout the night. Center Image: The Milky Way lines up with the Doubling Point Lighthouse tower and walkway in Arrowsic, Maine. Right Image: Nine minutes of the Earth's rotation captured at a quintessential Maine harbor scene in Stonington.

0211914 Aurora II

Mike Taylor/Mike Taylor Photography

A quick aurora display in mid February 2014 in central Maine. The moon was very bright but made for some nice foreground lighting on the snow.

Deer Isle Bridge at Night

Mike Taylor/Mike Taylor Photography

Reflections of the Deer Isle-Sedgwick bridge stretching over Eggemoggin Reach at midnight. This angle is only possible during low tide, but definitely worth it to capture summer traffic on the bridge, the north end of our Milky Way galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy, and the overall glow of a crescent moon setting behind the camera. The orange glow on the horizon is light pollution coming from the towns of Castine, Brooksville and Sedgwick (left to right) on the Blue Hill Peninsula.

Eta Aquarid Meteor & Milky Way

Mike Taylor/Mike Taylor Photography

An Eta Aquarid fireball meteor streaks through the sky while I was capturing the reflections of the Milky Way and some trees in a local pond. The orange hue on the horizon is light pollution in the light cloud cover. This image was chosen as NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day for May 9, 2014.

Five Islands 8 Image Pano

Mike Taylor/Mike Taylor Photography

This image is a nine-shot panorama of the Five Islands, Maine, area featuring Mink (smaller, right) and Hen (bigger, left) Islands, the full arc of the Milky Way galaxy and quite a bit of all-night light pollution coming from the local wharf.

Jordan Pond at Night

Mike Taylor/Mike Taylor Photography

Clouds roll through the northern sky and reflect in the calm water of Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park.

Lily Bay Aurora

Mike Taylor/Mike Taylor Photography

The Northern Lights make a surprise appearance on the beach at Lily Bay State Park, Moosehead Lake, Maine. This is one frame from a time lapse that will be featured in my upcoming short film "Shot In The Dark."


Mike Taylor/Mike Taylor Photography

Night reflections on a small pond in Maine.

Unity Aurora 091214

Mike Taylor/Mike Taylor Photography

The intense aurora flare up on September 12, 2014, in central Maine on the unused Unity train tracks. No color saturation needed, Mother Nature provided a brilliant display of lights.

Taylor's most recent feature wasTo Capture the Milky Way, Capture the Landscape.” Follow all of the Expert Voices issues and debates — and become part of the discussion — on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.

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