Star Rise over San Francisco, Sans Light Pollution

This was not taken on Black Friday! It’s a composite photo from photographer Thierry Cohen illustrating what San Francisco would look like if all its light pollution was removed.


Post Apocalyptic San Francisco is still pretty, but São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro look even better.

He created these composites of 15 cities from around the world. From the site:

He photographs the world’s major cities, seeking out views that resonate for him and noting the precise time, angle, and latitude and longitude of his exposure. As the world rotates around its axis the stars that would have been visible above a particular city move to deserts, plains, and other places free of light pollution. By noting the precise latitude and angle of his cityscape, Cohen is able to track the earth’s rotation to places of atmospheric clarity like the Mojave, the Sahara, and the Atacama desert. There he sets up his camera to record what is lost to modern urban dwellers.

I remember walking in the city after the 1989 Earthquake, going over to the Haight to eat melting ice cream with my friend Carol. The sky was beautiful. There were a few lights, mostly flashlights in people hands and candles in apartment windows. I’ll never forget the haunting look of a dead Muni bus on the street with a driver walking up and down the aisle with his flashlight. Eerie.

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