Santa Elena Canyon at Night

In the fall of 2014 I had planned a trip to Big Bend just for one photograph.  This last year I went back to take it again.

Some might wonder I would go back to take the same photograph I already had, but I know every chance I get into the field is going to be different so I often revisit the same locations.

I arrived at the canyon before sunset and there were too few clouds to make a sunset.

The light slowly faded toward dark and a few clouds moved in.

The the darkness went from twilight, to blue to black. Finally it was dark enough to see the Milky Way and I went to work to capture it.

Standing in the dark on the edge of the Rio Grande with the black walls of Santa Elena Canyon climbing 1500' (500m) above you and then the Milky Way soaring above that and across the sky is a humbling experience.  It makes one feel awfully small in a very big universe.....

I had a couple of cameras to use here:

Sony A7S with Samyang 12mm fisheye.  This is my main night setup.  The camera is amazing at night and the fisheye is the lens that truly captures the vastness of the Milky Way.

I also had my Canon 5D Mark II.  This is a very good camera that has been my all-round model but is surpassed by yhr A7S for night work.  Here I am using my Samyang 24mm f/1.4 lens.

Between these two models, I have very good capability to get a nice close view and the ultra-wide view the fisheye offers.

I would bounce between cameras and even with the longer exposures it keeps you very busy.

I photographed the sky, watched the clouds move around, and kept making images.  Occasionally a fish would jump and the splash always sounded very loud and close.  It always surprises you in the dark.

After an hour or so, I felt I had to have something, I decided to go try another area with an old ruin before calling it a night.

I left thinking, I should probably go try this again in 2016......


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