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Tag Archives: dark skies

I have been working on my night photography skills for a couple of years now and finally, have made my first successful panorama of the full Milky Way arch! I’ve watched videos, gone to classes, read articles and ebooks, trying to learn as much as possible. Many things I learned meant I needed another piece of equipment but I think now, I have it all put together. This is not perfect, that’s for sure but it makes me happy.

And I did it from my own home. I did not have to drive somewhere a long ways away to find the needed dark skies that makes seeing the stars possible. Of course, the foreground is not all that attractive. There are all the lights on the hills from the ever increasing populations of our valley, the local airport, some cars on the dirt roads after midnight, lights from the nearby church and a power pole. It is where I live and I am happy to be here.

This image is made from eight images stitched together and represents about 180° to capture the entire arc of the Milky Way.

I have more to learn but I feel like this is a big step forward!

The girls and I recently returned from an adventurous fifteen-day roadtrip to Nevada and Utah. Did you know that eastern Nevada has LOTS of really high mountains? Like 10,000 feet and higher? Really an amazing landscape. And it’s so large, we barely saw any of it. And it’s remote. Really remote. Sky had a medical emergency on a Sunday and I managed to get a large animal veterinarian on the phone and he said, ‘Lady, you are in the middle of nowhere. No one here can take care of your dog. You need to go to Vegas or Salt Lake City.’ We ended up going to Elko, but that’s another story. Thanks to the wonders of modern veterinary medicine, Sky is fine now.

Our destination was the Nightscaper Conference in Kanab, Utah. Ken flew down to explore the sights and wrangle the dogs while I was filling my brain with more information than it could ever hold.

Here are a few images from the trip down there.

It rained off and on all day yesterday and poured down hard in the evening. It rained so hard I could not see lights across the valley for a while. I don’t mind that. But then, I woke up at 2 am and the sky was clear and full of stars. I laid there for a while and finally talked myself into getting dressed, gathering my camera gear and going out in the dark. The dogs were confused and wanted to go out too but then they wanted in. Ken was out of town for work.

The moon had already set. The stars were uncountable. The night was dark. I ventured down the driveway and up the road a bit. I heard sounds of animals moving in the brush and hoped that none of them were cougars or angry deer. For the most part it was quiet except for the occasional vehicle on the highway down below. I saw a few shooting stars but none crossed my images.

When I was done, sleep eluded me for the longest time.

I’m still working on the process of processing these night sky images.

 

The girls and I camped for five nights at Natural Bridges National Monument. It has a tiny campground, is off the beaten path and is truly a dark skies place. There was no lighting visible from the campground or the tour loop around the natural bridges except for an occasional distant car driving on highway 95. There were lots of aircraft flying overhead and sometimes I had to wait for the jets to get out of my planned image. Once, two planes flew parallel to each other, going the same speed and direction. I wonder what that was all about. Anyway, I am still learning how to do this and how to process the image files so these are works in progress.

It’s interesting that many of my recent blog posts which are, admittedly, few and far between these days, are about the night sky. Or hikes. But certainly I seem to be paying more attention to the night sky. I’ve always appreciated dark skies not illuminated by artificial lighting. But why more photos of the night? It’s never been something I’ve pursued. Maybe it’s because at night, I don’t see the devastation that came from wildfires the last two summers? Or maybe as I age I gain a greater appreciation for the infinite reaches of the space outside our own atmosphere? Or maybe I just don’t sleep as much as I used to!

Anyway, for whatever reason, here is another set of images from the Aurora Borealis. It’s best to watch the slide show but you never know when you get to the end!

There is a chance that the lights will continue this week but I am feeling sleep deprived so this might be the last of the night postings for a while.

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