Yosemite National Park under Moonlight
Astro-Landscape [Night] Photography
Clouds Rising into the Dark Night Sky
As many of you know astro-landscape photography has become my latest passion in my photography. Finding an interesting landscape composition and capturing the night sky over it - either at new moon or with some moon illumination - can feel like a treasure hunt. There are many variables that have to come together to ultimately yield a successful image.
In my last blog I described the ‘vanishing’ dark sky areas in the
particularly in the Eastern parts of the country and showed the difference in
how many stars we can see when we are under a dark sky. In my latest experience when rafting the Grand Canyon
in early May, it was so gratifying seeing the millions of stars overhead despite
the moon illuminating the canyon walls.
The capture of a strong meteor – looking like a fireball – was an extra
Night at the bottom of the Grand Canyon at the
Colorado River with a meteor
streaking over the sky (composite of 4 images) May 8, 2014
As city dwellers or suburbanites, light pollution only let’s us see the brightest stars. Even in rural areas the sparse light will have and effect on how many stars we can observe. The image depicts the number of stars that can be seen in the Inner City (panel on left side) vis-a-vis Subarban Sky (middle) and Excllent Dark Sky (Right).
We are loosing more and more dark sky in our environment and as described in my last blog, this can have a detrimental effect on wildlife - besides loosing the beauty overhead.
In my pursuit of beautiful night images, I have used an app to find ‘dark sky’ areas (Search in iTunes for "Dark Sky" App) and have traveled quite a bit to find them. Today, I want to share some of newer images with you in my Nature TidBits.
So scroll down and enjoy:
Yosemite National Park under full Moon (panorama towards Yosemite Falls)
Reflection of the stars with a faint milky way, Mt Bachelor, Bend, Oregon
Milky Way over Arch Rock, Joshua Tree National Park, Southern CA
with Venus rising at around 4 am in March 2014
Bixby Bridge, Big Sur Coast, CA
Later that night as the fog rolled in around 2am, the light became diffuse softening the car lights coming around the corner from the south.
Moonlight on the ocean near Pigeon Point, CA [May 2014]
Pigeon Point under a half moon, CA
'Reaching Out' to Polaris, the North Star at the Patriarch Grove, Bristlecone Forest, CA
Milky Way over the San Gabriel Mountains, CA [May 2014]
Capturing the Aurora under the northern sky outside Fairbanks, Alaska -
playing to create 'imploding stars' [March 2014]
Although I mostly eliminate man-made structures from my images, they can add interesting elements:
Loop-di-doo over San Francisco, CA
While photographing star-trails over the Golden Gate Bridge one winter night, I turned around and pointed my camera towards the city to see what a time-lapse would capture. The resulting composite shows the air traffic over the city with a helicopter showing up as the red-dotted line.
Heavy air traffic leaving San Francisco International airport on a winter night is shown in the next image:
Airplanes leaving San Francisco International [with a southern star trail arch in the sky].
... and of course the ever present cell towers on mountain tops - new beacons of red lights dotting the landscape.
Beacons of red light under the northern star trails.
I want to close with a beautiful image captured in Arches National Park, Utah:
Star trails in the Northern Sky over the Double Arch Bridge
Utah and the red rock country has captured my heart and I know I will travel there again. There are so many wonderful places, and a lot of Utah is still enjoying beautiful dark sky. Many more opportunities of capturing astro-landscape images await. Soon I will put on my traveling shoes and one of my next road trips will lead me back there.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the journey under the dark sky.
Until next time,