Monday, January 10, 2011

Where They Make the Milky Way

Deep in the deserts of west Texas I found a special place-where they make the Milky Way!

When I was in Big Bend back in November, I spent three incredible days driving the River Road. One of my stops was to camp near the ruins of the Mariscal Mine. A hundred years ago they mined cinnabar here, which was processed on site into mercury.

The mine is long since closed and is now inside Big Bend National Park. There is a backroad campsite nearby and I chose that as one of my stops along the road so I could photography it at night.

Normally I want clouds for a fantastic sunset, but here I was actually wanting clear skies. I got them, plus it was a new moon so it was DARK.

The mine is on the side of Mariscal Mountain and one has to climb the hillside slope to work around it.

After working above the mine, I moved down below it to find the Milky Way framed perfectly over the mine. So, that's how its made! I framed the mine and the sky, then a little light painting on the mine and viola!

On a technical note, if you look close at the sky you see the only flaw with the Canon 50D......banding. Once the sensor gets warm from doing longer exposures at night, I get horizontal banding (although it is vertical here from the portrait orientation). It does not matter the ISO or exposure length. I never see it in the daytime, even if I put on a ND filter and do long exposures, but I sure pick it up at night.

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