Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New Book, "Glacier National Park After Dark"

Glacier National Park After Dark

During the Leonid meteor storm on November 1833, an estimated 200,000 meteors per hour sparked across the Montana sky for more then nine hours. Several Plains Indian tribes recorded the spectacle as the, "Winter When The Stars Fell." For me personally, the past three months was the winter when the stars fell into place.

I finally carved out a chunk of time to write the book that I've been photographing and working towards for the last 28 years. At 4:30 this afternoon I signed off on the last color proofs, and at 5:00 I took Magpie (our energetic border collie) for our first hike since December. The new book is on its way to the printer, coming to a bookstore near you in late June.

The book's title is, "Glacier National Park After Dark." It's 96 pages, 100+ photographs and 30-something essays of the night skies over northern Montana. It's part guide book and part astronomy, part Blackfoot sky stories and part personal journal. There are photographs of Glacier landmarks with comets, northern lights, shooting stars, star trails, sunsets and sunrises, full moons, lunar eclipses, constellations, planets, Milky Way, nocturnal animals, and more. I also wrote a couple of chapters about how we can come to terms with light pollution, plus a couple of tables for sky events over the next 10 years. My teammates for this project included Blackfeet elders, university professors and college instructors, a well-respected author and career park service employee, among others. After nearly three decades of photographing, and three months of writing and layout, it's all signed and sealed and soon to be delivered.

Over on our photography website, we're offering free U.S. shipping for those of you who are willing to pony up and pre-order to help us pay for printing this book (roughly $15,000, ouch!). I also designed a companion calendar to go with the book, and the free shipping offer applies to it as well. The link to order is here.

To be honest, the book is a labor of love that I needed to create. Because my motivation was personal and not financial, I had no expectations for how it would be received by the general public. So far, the reception has been almost scary. Every single person who has seen draft has reacted with great enthusiasm and genuine interest. This will open doors for me to bring conservation issues to strangers and have a positive impact on their lives. We already have several public presentations in the works, and I expect many more. Now I need to put together a slide program and bone up on the medical aspects of light pollution.

So my conservation work continues, but now that the book production phase is finished I hope to get back to writing Wild & Free Montana features after this winter hiatus. Let's get outdoors see what spring has delivered to western Montana!