The Dark Skies of Wayne National Forest, Ohio.


As far as dark skies go, Ohio was one of the states I was pretty worried about. According to the Bortle Scale, was rated right in the middle in its darkest place, The Wayne National Forest. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how dark the sky got that night.

When I first showed up, I searched almost the entire park for spots and campsites. I found a campsite almost dead center of the park and thought that would be a great place to camp for the night. After some dinner, I sat and waiting for the stars to come out and at about 11:00 I headed out for some photos.

My first location was something I spotted on my scouting trip earlier in the day and it did not let down. I hung out here for about 30 minutes collecting my photos and trying not to jump at every sound (that only worked for half the time). Once I was satisfied with my photos, I moved on to my next scouted spot, a cemetery along the road.

I thought it would make for a very eerie foreground, but when I showed up at a little past midnight, to my surprise there was lights on in the church and cars in the parking lot. Now, I have no idea what was going on and I really wasn’t about to try and find out, but the shot was worth taking a risk to maybe grab a few frames and hop out of there, I mean I was right on the road. Well it only took me opening and closing my door for me to hear some people talking, so back in the car and off I went.

I was getting tired and a little bummed that I didn’t get the one shot I was really looking for, but soon enough I came up on a valley with some mountains in the background that complimented the position of the Milky Way very nicely so one more stop wouldn’t hurt. I grabbed a few different compositions from this spot and from how clearly I could see the Milky Way sitting there I was pretty sure I had Ohio completed for my Galactic50 photo project.

As I started driving back to my campsite I realized I got a little turned around at my last stop or maybe the freaky cemetery and I was closer to the entrance of the national forest than my campsite. I had seen a campsite on my way in that was right on the river so off I went to my new campsite, a perfect little slice of heaven right on the Ohio River.

To sum up, if your looking for dark skies in Ohio take a ride to Wayne National Forest, just stay away from night time church goers and you should do just fine!

Click here to see all my images of the Milky Way