Pickens Photography Students Soon Won’t Have Far to Go to Shoot for the Stars

In the Pickens Technical College Arts, Media, and Communication pathway, the Professional Photography course is extremely popular, and with good reason. Under the careful instruction of Erik Schubert, students get the best instruction for building their skills around what photographers call ‘the eye.’ Having eyes won’t help photographers at all if they can’t develop film, utilize both digital and analog methods of editing photos, and find the right angles and framing techniques in the field. That’s why Pickens offers students the chance to work hands-on with all aspects of photography before they try to point and shoot their way to lucrative (and fun) careers.

Now, what to photograph? One of my favorite shots is the classic night sky shot. I know from experience how difficult it is to truly capture the limitless rapture of a clear sky at night. Not only is it getting more difficult every day to find a square of night sky that isn’t polluted by lights and haze in this town, but it also takes a mastery of photography equipment and technique to capture the heavens.

Schubert and the Professional Photography program here at Pickens can help you with equipment and technique, but finding a good place to capture the night sky, even in the wide open spaces of Colorado, can be difficult.

Night Sky “Places”

According to the International Dark Sky Association, Colorado has two official night sky “places,” where the stars shine especially bright. Both are remote, located in the southwestern region of the state. Many night sky photographers have traveled for hundreds of miles to reach these areas and snap a picture of the Milky Way.

But a new night sky place might open closer to home, thanks to efforts by a group of Fort Collins city staffers and colleagues from Larimer County. The group wants to certify an area about 30 miles north of Fort Collins as an official night sky park. The park would contain the Red Mountain Open Space and Soapstone Prairie Natural Area in Wellington. The park’s supporters say it will help preserve some of the best views of the night sky in northern Colorado and benefit the area’s wildlife conservation efforts, which are still ongoing. The proposal was submitted to the International Dark Sky Association at the end of October, with an official decision expected in 2019.

With the population expected to double in Northern Colorado by 2050, this effort to set aside an area perfect for stargazing and getting away from it all shows the community is serious about preserving parts of the area’s natural beauty for generations to come. And you, as a photography student, will soon be able to take advantage.

If approved, photographers in the Denver metro area will soon have a much easier commute to capture the night sky. All you have to do is get your equipment and your photography techniques together.

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