Volcano Country Nightscapes

One of my favorite places to do night photography in the park is the volcano country on the west side.  Here one finds the remnants of volcanic cores, fines, dikes, and tuff.  

The interesting geology of the volcanic activity makes for great foregrounds in an image, especially a nightscape!

I visited the volcano area on two different nights.  Each time I would move around the rocks and tuff looking for a composition.  It is harder in the night although the white tuff helps one see the dark rocks that make interesting subjects.

Sometimes I light paint the rocks and others I do not.  The high ISO capability of my Sony A7S is so good it often makes dark look almost like day.

I mostly worked with the 12mm fisheye lens.  The ultra-wide view it has is great for capturing the night sky and foreground subjects.  

As it gets dark enough to see the Milky Way I start to try to make images.  Walking around on volcanic tuff is actually pretty tough as the tuff is often loose and gravelly making it easy to slide.  And you do not want to slide when you are carrying a camera on a tripod.

So one moves carefully.  Take your time.  then carefully set up.

Then worry about the image.

Luckily the camera makes it pretty easy so I can worry more about the composition than the technicals.

Each time I visit this area I tend to work spots I have in the past as well as new angles and views.  Always there is the hope I will get another good image I can put in my website galleries.

This fall there was some great dark skies and even with a few clouds (which were missing at sunset.....) made for some good night conditions.

Here are a few of my favorites from those October nights.  Each one with a different take on the geology features of the volcanoes and with views to the Milky Way shining in the dark sky of west Texas.  I am already looking forward to returning here in the spring of 2016 and working several different compositions that I will be able to do then.


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