I know. I’m going to be called a killjoy. “It’s my photo! I can do what I want!” And you’re right. I’m not the night photography police. But you know, I am here to help you.

Therefore, I’ll ask politely: This year, can we stop taking photos with flashlight beams pointing at the Milky Way? Please?

See? Not one flashlight! :D

It’s a cliché

All the same, people have been doing this for years. It seemed to suddenly start about five years ago. And it’s never stopped. It’s the day photography equivalent of taking a photo of a model on train tracks or photographing people sitting on a couch in a grassy field.

Yes, it’s a cliché. And you want your night photos to stand out from the pack, don’t you? Don’t you?

When there are actually video tutorials telling you how to create Milky Way photos with flashlight beams pointing at them, you know it’s run its course, right?

It’s bad for animals

To photograph this, you typically need an absurdly bright beam. Especially if it is not hazy or dusty. That messes up animals’ sleep habits and sets them off. It’s startling. You don’t want to do that, do you?

It makes zero sense

When does anyone point a flashlight at the Milky Way? Yeah. Never. It never happens. Why? Because it makes zero sense. You can’t see them any better doing this.

And see those Milky Ways that you tried so hard to photograph? Well, they’re less visible now because, well, you’re creating light pollution, the very thing that you tried to avoid.

Besides, when was the last time you saw someone aiming their flashlight at the Milky Way? Yeah. Never.

There’s no Milky Way, but we do have the flashlight beam of the universe. This is OK. A handheld torch, maybe that’s run its course.

It’s not patriotic

After all, you’ve never seen a single photo of Abraham Lincoln doing this, have you? Be like Abe.

Take up the challenge

Let’s challenge ourselves to create more compelling, original night photography images this Milky Way season. Something that has more original subject matter. We’ve seen plenty of people aiming flashlights at the Milky Way, and really, even enough people photographing glowing tents in the foreground. Consider trying something else, just for the fun of it. Thank you in advance.