Location, Location, Location!
Pelee Island has some of the darkest night skies in all of southern Ontario. With its middle of the Great Lake Erie location, if offers a unique opportunity for dark skies in an area that is surrounded by population on either side of the lake’s shores. Although not officially one of Ontario’s Dark Sky Preserves, trust us, it gets dark on Pelee at night. For a clear and dark night on Pelee Island, mark this in your favourites – Pelee Island Clear Dark Sky.
Super Star Fun Fact – Omega Centauri, the largest globular star cluster of the Milky Way which contains about 10 million stars, has its best Canadian viewing point from Fish Point Nature Reserve at the southernmost tip of Pelee Island. Which is also the southernmost inhabited point in all of Canada.
Have you heard? You can WIN your very own starry night on Pelee Island!!! ENTER TO WIN and join us for a weekend on Pelee Island to Explore Sustainability! Watch the 70-second video highlighting the NCC project, then enter. We will donate $1 for every video view up to $8,000!
Know What You’re Looking At
Humans have been fascinated with the stars since the beginning of humans document their daily lives. Astronomy, astrology, science and wonderment are all elements of a starry night. Knowing what you are looking by searching for and identify constellations feels like an accomplishment of a great explorer.
No matter which avenue of curiosity brings you to look up, having a map once you’re there is crucial, especially in the beginning. There are countless books on the subject. Our team members who live and work on the island, recommend a star gazing app that will give you a specific “where to look and what you’ll see” real time map. We will leave it to you to choose your favourite and leave you with this summary of Best Astronomy Apps.
Starry Night Photography
Our friend and photographer, Ian Virtue, has taken some of our favourite Pelee Island snapshots, including the beautiful images in this blog!
How does he do it? Here are some of his tips:
- A wide angle lens (ideally between 14-24mm) will allow you to capture large sections of the sky without having to stitch images together in post.
- Always use the widest aperture (f1.4, f2.8, etc) setting on your camera to make sure you are able to capture the light from as many stars as possible.
- Use a remote trigger to ensure no camera shake when you are taking your images. Over a 30 second exposure even your finger clicking the shutter is enough to cause blurry images.
- Make sure your focus is set to manual and your are focused to infinity. The last thing you want is to go home after a long night of shooting and realize all of your stars are out of focus. The best way to do this is to use the LED screen on the back of your camera to find the brightest star in the sky and slowly shift your focus until that star in pin point sharp. Remember – if for some reason you change your focal length of aperture you are going to need to refocus on that bright star.
- Choose your night wisely. You will want to shoot as close to the start of the new moon as possible. Here is a moon calendar to monitor the cycles with the Pelee Island postal code as the location. You can adjust this to wherever you find yourself looking up.
- Have fun and bring friends. No one likes standing in a dark field alone!
- Local tip – “Bug spray and long sleeves/pants. No one needs to be the late night buffet for mosquitos.” – Alyssa, Pelee Island Winery Pavilion Manager
Starry Nights Island Style
Simplicity is one of the many things that make Pelee Island so special. An evening sitting around the campfire that leads to lingering around the dying embers and looking up, it pure perfection in our books.
The perfect pre-game snack of course, s’mores. For some great ideas and new twists on the classic, along with wine pairings, check out our blog ‘S’mores Please’.
Local Tip – “Our favourite time of the year on the island is late September into early October when the island stays just a little warmer for just a little longer and the humidity is gone and skies are bright.” – Cathy & Kevin Miller, InnKeeps at The Wandering Dog Inn, Pelee Island.
Pssttt… Don’t forget while you’re here to sign up for our Birthday Club and receive a $20 Gift Voucher for your birthday!