By Mark Gearis
April 30, 2022
Editor’s Note: For today’s Amelia Island revealed, we are again looking back to highlight two outstanding photographs taken by Mark Gearis. Also, included below is a 2016 story about Mark and his passion for the night sky. We hope you enjoy it. Thank you Mark for your contributions to the Fernandina Observer.
By Susan Hardee Steger
August 24, 2016
(Updated) April 28, 2022
Mark Gearis, a photographer, is drawn to the night sky. A Carl Sagan quote, “The sky calls to us,” proceeds a Facebook post of one of his most dramatic photos. It was captured during the 2016 Perseid Meteor Shower at Fort Clinch State Park.
According to Mark, “The trailing from the stars (Top Photo) is caused by the earth’s rotation giving the appearance the stars are moving at night when in reality we are.” Mark uses several long exposures over several hours to capture the movement of the stars. Mark had planned his photograph for an August weekend. “I just lucked out it was the weekend of the Perseid shower. It was absolutely amazing this year . [The] best I have seen.”
In the second photo, Mark Gearis views the Milky Way wearing his headlamp and doing what he loves best.
Organizations concerned over the vanishing night sky, mostly caused by light pollution, report, “80% of Americans can no longer see the Milky Way”” Those of us on Amelia Island are the fortunate 20% who can. As Mark shares his love for the night sky, it reminds us all to appreciate its beauty.
Mark’s interest in astronomy began over ten years ago after instructions from a close friend. He decided to share what he saw, so he picked up a camera and learned about photography, and captured what he saw.
“It takes a lot of effort and trial and error, but the people who get out there and try to shoot anything at night do it because they are passionate about the subject. For me, it was astronomy.”
You might say Mark is a night owl. At the time of the 2016 article, Mark worked at the Green Turtle, but after hours (midnight until 6 a.m.) on clear nights, he focuses his attention on his passion; the evening sky.
A native to the area, Mark graduated from Fernandina Beach High School in 2003.