Ancient Fire Ancient Light

One of the distinct features on the western side of Big Bend National Park is Cerro Castellan.  This solitary peak is visible over most of the western half of the park.  It is a volcanic core from an ancient volcano.  The rest of the mountain has been eroded away by time but the solid core is still standing tall.  It is one of many volcanic features on this side of the park.

I have photographed this peak several times.  This trip I wanted to see if I could get an image at night with the Milky Way shining above it.

I made my way there early one morning and set up on the northwest side of it where I could frame a field of volcanic tuff and pyroclastic rocks in the foreground, the peak in the center and the bright light of the Milky Way in the night sky.

The familiar peak takes on a mysterious and other worldly look in the dark 

I started by just photographing the silhouette of the peak with the stars but after several frames I began to light paint the peak and foreground rocks to see what that might add to an image.  The glow of a light on the red rocks calls to might the fire of the volcano that once was.  While overhead the ancient light of the galaxy shined in the sky.  

I think to myself that this is a good spot and I know I will need to return here to photograph the night sky and peak again.


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