Welcome. Edgartown News was born from the simple fact that I have ink and Dektol in my veins and I need to write and photograph more than I need air or food, and from my love for this little town where I grew up and raised my family, the town I have left a few times but can't quite shake for good. Here you will find wanderings and musings, photographs and commentary; the people, places, and happenings - past and present - of a small island town: my home town.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Bright as the Noonday Sun

So, apparently I missed the trial run of the LED street lamps. Not that I get out at night much during the winter months (who does, especially during a winter such as the one that just ended?). And even if I had, my night time travels would not have included a trip down Pease's Point Way (one of the test areas), and as for the Stop&Shop neighborhood (the other test area), how would they even have been noticed among the many lights in that commercial district?

But there was no missing the light shining through my kitchen window on a particular evening last week. As I stood at my sink, washing dishes and gazing out the window onto Green Avenue - daydreaming, taking in the peace of the evening and admiring the twilight sky - suddenly, a bright light pierced my eyes. My first thought was, "Ah, they've replaced the broken streetlamp, the one that was flickering all of last summer." (actually, that was my second thought, immediately following, "What the HELL is that?") I went out to get a better look and was struck by two things: one, the sheer, eye-piercing brightness, and two: the fact that there was no shade to direct the light downward, enabling this bright light to shine straight into my eyes. Ugh, I thought. Then I remembered the electric company trucks I had seen on Main Street that day with men working on the poles. I walked to the front of my house - yep, Main Street was now sporting new lights as well. It was then that I realized I had missed the "trial." The time, possibly, when the public would have had an opportunity to give feedback?

Okay, I guess it's too late now, but here's my take:

The lights are way too bright and they shine right in your eyes if you're out walking at night (if the desired end result is safety, how can having no night vision be safe?)

Not only are the lights too bright, they also cast a cold, stark light. The pleasant warm ambiance of our village is gone.

Obviously it is too late to remove the new lights, but I have heard they can be adjusted, so here's hoping they will be turned down a few notches. There's probably nothing that can be done about the color temperature, unfortunately. On some level, the change that these new lights brings to our town is subtle - probably not noticed by the majority and certainly of no concern to the vast numbers who rarely frequent downtown Edgartown at night - but on another, very real level, the new lights are a part of the chip, chip, chipping away of the quality of our life, specifically as pertains to what was once the pleasing and warm glow that permeated the streets of our village.

Edited to add (inspired by a Facebook comment): Why would it not be possible to filter these lights to warm the color temperature? Based on my photography background and the way I am able to manipulate the color of my flash, ought there not be a gel or lens that could change the appearance of these lights from harsh and cold to warm and cozy? Or at least warmer?



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The view from my kitchen window.

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In this view, from my upstairs window, you can see the difference between the warm glow of the older incandescent lights, below in the lanterns on the sidewalk, and the cold cast of the LED, above on the pole. In fact, the temperature - visually and actually - of LEDs is not warm enough to melt snow that falls on them - a problem in cities where traffic signals have been replaced with LEDs. This should prove to be interesting next winter.

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Main Street, looking towards town.

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Middle of the night, sole source of light.

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My formerly quaint, now lit up like a football field, Green Avenue. Am I on the moon?

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Main Street, looking towards town.

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Main Street, looking towards the jail.

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Edgartown News, Sara Piazza Photography, Edgartown Photographer, Martha's Vineyard Photographer, Martha's Vineyard Family and Wedding Photographer


Edgartown News, Sara Piazza Photography, Edgartown Photographer, Martha's Vineyard Photographer, Martha's Vineyard Family and Wedding Photographer
Edgartown's former warm incandescent glow,

2 comments:

  1. I believe you can request a shield to prevent the light from shining in your window.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I have been in touch with Kevin Galligan from Cape Light Compact, the overseers of these lights, and he said someone would be by to install a shield. That was a month ago, and nothing yet. But the truth is (in my opinion), all of them need shields and to be adjusted. They're very bright and they shine right into your eyes when driving or walking (or standing in my kitchen). But I may as well be whistling in the wind. I applaud David Stanwood and the West Tisbury-ites for being proactive and putting the kibosh on these things for their town.

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