Nights on the Nolan River

Throughout the summer months I kept returning to the Nolan River to photograph the Milky Way in the pre-dawn darkness.  I have found several locations to photograph and while most of my visits centered on my favorite spot, I have a few others I also visited.

The fact that I can be here in one hour is great.  I would leave Fort Worth at 2am and be standing in the river at 3am.  In the summer months that gives you between 2-3 hours at best to photograph before it gets light.

As the months went by the Milky Way was moving across the sky (ok, we are really moving around the sun making the Milky Way move) so every month had different angles of view.

In the late summer we decided to visit a different location than usual and waded into the river on a warm summer night.  Here we actually had to walk down the river to reach the spot I wanted to go and having a good pair of Wellies was a must.  We were often 20" of water and Wellies help keep you dry. 

Several times wading I spooked rather large fish wish darted out of sight quickly.  While I suppose there could be snakes or turtles out here, my biggest worry is actually walking through the grass on the way to the river and getting chigger bites.

As you wander down the river we passed through a few deeper spots and the were able to walk along some rock ledges.  Working our way past a few stray boulders and along a small bluff.

A few small clouds were in the sky and the Milky Way was visible too, but the angle would make it tough to always work into a shot.

We would make a few images then move a little farther down the river to make more.  Before we knew it, the stars were fading and morning was on the way.  I think we were back in town by 7am having breakfast.

Getting out for nights made this summer my most productive ever in Texas.  Normally the clear sky and hot days make summer landscape photography difficult and I rarely get more than one or two opportunities.  This summer I was out every new moon weekend chasing the Milky Way and those clear skies gave me many nice images.

As we slide into fall the Milky Way becomes a just after sunset object and the fall colors will become my focus.  However, I now look forward to the summer months as another chance for some nights on the river.


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