Sunday, June 16, 2013

When it Comes to Light Pollution, Bad is Bad

Recently I took a trip to the Florida Panhandle. A big part of the trip was spent in looking at outdoor lighting. A lot of what  I saw there reminded me of a song by Huey Lewis and The News,  Bad is Bad.

Yes, I saw some good lighting, but the bad really is bad and, in some cases, it far outweighs the good. Let me show you some examples. (Note: These are daytime photos and it may be that some of the lights are no longer active.)

Here's a streetlight that illuminates an otherwise empty area by the beach:
Here's another light in the middle of nowhere, right next to the beach. Not only does it serve no useful purpose, it is an unshielded "yard blaster." It's a pretty common lamp, but a big offender when it comes to light pollution as it is a big source of sky glow, light trespass and glare.
Speaking of yard blasters, here's a pair of them mounted in a park:
It is hard to imagine that one alone wouldn't be excessive enough without needing to add second.

But it isn't all bad (although it does get worse further down below). I was encouraged to see that some newer, full cutoff fixtures like this one are starting to appear:
Yet when you see them juxtaposed to the lighting on the left it is painful:
In Panama City FL, where this and the next two shots come from, it seemed that most of the businesses illuminate using lamps like those on the left. Having them pointed nearly sideways like that make them terrible sources of glare, sky glow and light trespass.

Here's another example of some standing right next to modern, full-cutoff LED fixtures:

And speaking of painful, it doesn't get much worse than this:
Those lights are off-the-charts bad. They represent the worst in lighting practices and they maximize energy waste, glare, light trespass and sky glow. I wouldn't want to live anywhere near lighting like this and, tragically, it is quite common in Panama City.

Moving on, I'll close with some shots that are more relaxing. First, the crescent Moon over the lighthouse in Lighthouse Park on St. George Island:

Sunset at St. George Island State Park:

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