Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Lost Mesa by Night


The Lost Mesa is a lonely place by day and it is a very dark and lonely place by night. There is only the stars, the wind and the cry of the coyote.

The dark sky is filled with stars and they shine ever brightly. The Milky Way is visible and is truly understandable as the "milky" way in a place like this.

I spent hours in the evening and the middle of the night staring up at the stars. This is the night sky the pioneers and the ancients would have seen. This is the night sky as it was meant to be seen. And I had it all to myself.

I could see the shadowy shapes of the Horned Mountains rising out of the now dark grasslands. Above them was the glow of the heavens. The occasional falling star would streak across the sky.

I watched. I also set about to photograph.

The moon was still in the sky in the early evening and even though it was less than half it still was very bright in the sky and cast shadows across the land. It was when I would be up at 3am that I would see the darkest sky, the most stars, and it was then I made my best night images.

It is a time that made really appreciate the DSLR. I had always used a film camera and hoped I was getting something. With the DSLR I was able to tweak and try things as I worked. It meant more images and that I could change settings on the go.

I was actually working three cameras. I had two DSLRS working as well as my medium format film camera doing an all night image (started 90 minutes after dark and let it run until 4am).

I made images in all directions, but my best ones either had the shadowy shapes of the mountains or had the North Star as the hub of the night sky with the stars spinning around it.


As the night approached twilight I was even able to get more detail in the landscape and still get the stars -like the third image looking north across the range to the distant Sacramento Mountains.

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