In Shenandoah Valley, part of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, a stunning phenomenon last summer revealed the ancient beauty of the night sky.
Light pollution from the surrounding cities was blocked by storms that hammered the East Coast for weeks. Filmmaker Harun Mehmedinovic captured the unadulterated night sky in a stunning time lapse video premiered on BBC Earth.
Mehmedinovic’s film is part of the SKYGLOW project, a crowdfunded quest to raise awareness about urban light pollution and to safeguard North America’s Dark Sky Preserves.
The film, titled “Shenandoah Reverie,” opens with long grass dancing in the foreground as rays of dawn peek above a light blanket of clouds.
The light air becomes heavy. The wind that bends the grass on a rural roadside also sends clouds skittering low along the ground.
A dense, black mass touches the horizon, leaving only slivers of blue sky.
Eventually a saffron glow rises up to meet the darkness above. The sun has set.
Lightning cuts the night sky. Yet in a moment of softness the storm clouds gently retreat to reveal the Milky Way pouring into the inky sky.
Mehmedinovic gives us time to savor the beauty of the starry night, a rare wonder for many of us encompassed in the glow of cities.
Then the rising sun erupts from the horizon with a stream of fiery orange clouds spreading like lava into the cobalt sky. The magic of a night in the mountains fades into the sunrise over the city. The urban lights are still aglow.