Orion Rising
Orion Rising
Mt. Evans - Milky Way
Mt. Evans - Milky Way
Milky Way on Mt. Evans
Milky Way on Mt. Evans
finding north
finding north
Clouds over Stagecoach
Clouds over Stagecoach
Twilight over the Yampa
Twilight over the Yampa
South Park Milky Way
South Park Milky Way
Hoosier Pass - Twilight Panorama
Hoosier Pass - Twilight Panorama
Hoosier Pass - Panorama 1
Hoosier Pass - Panorama 1
Hoosier Pass - Twilight Detail
Hoosier Pass - Twilight Detail
Orion Rising - Tomahawk SWA
Orion Rising - Tomahawk SWA
Milky Way over the Paris Mine - Detail
Milky Way over the Paris Mine - Detail
Milky Way over the Paris Mill - Detail
Milky Way over the Paris Mill - Detail
Milky Way over the Paris Mill
Milky Way over the Paris Mill
Continental Divide - Twilight Detail
Continental Divide - Twilight Detail
Continental Divide - Twilight Panorama
Continental Divide - Twilight Panorama
Continental Divide - Twilight Detail
Continental Divide - Twilight Detail
Milky Way - Buckskin Gulch
Milky Way - Buckskin Gulch
Mt. Evans in the setting moon
Mt. Evans in the setting moon
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Hoosier Pass - Stacked
Hoosier Pass - Stacked
Buckskin Mountain - B/W
Buckskin Mountain - B/W
Milky Way Rising over Squaw Pass
Milky Way Rising over Squaw Pass
Star Trails - Mt. Evans
Star Trails - Mt. Evans
Star Trails - Tarryall Reservoir
Star Trails - Tarryall Reservoir
Star Trails - Mt. Evans ii
Star Trails - Mt. Evans ii
Star Trails - South Platte River
Star Trails - South Platte River
Island in the Sky - Milky Way Panorama
Island in the Sky - Milky Way Panorama
Milky Way over Ice
Milky Way over Ice
Island in the Sky - Milky Way Core
Island in the Sky - Milky Way Core
Milky Way over Island in the Sky
Milky Way over Island in the Sky
Milky Way over Elk River
Milky Way over Elk River
Mosquito Gulch
Mosquito Gulch
Steamboat Lake - Milky Way Core
Steamboat Lake - Milky Way Core
Steamboat Lake - Milky Way Panorama
Steamboat Lake - Milky Way Panorama
Summer Post
Summer Post
Summer Solstice Bouquet
Summer Solstice Bouquet
London Mountain
London Mountain
Same post, different season...
Same post, different season...
boundless
boundless
Milky Way over Maroon Bells
Milky Way over Maroon Bells
Milky Way - Maroon Bells
Milky Way - Maroon Bells
Milky Way over Maroon Bells II
Milky Way over Maroon Bells II
Milky Way over Lewis Lake
Milky Way over Lewis Lake
Milky Way over Lewis Lake - Still
Milky Way over Lewis Lake - Still
Moonrise over Mirror Lake
Moonrise over Mirror Lake
Milky Way - Hartsel Stage stop
Milky Way - Hartsel Stage stop
Mirror Lake after Midnight
Mirror Lake after Midnight
Nodal North - Valley of the Sun
Nodal North - Valley of the Sun
Star Light, Star Bright...
Star Light, Star Bright...
First of the Season
First of the Season
North Star
North Star
Milky Way - Valley of the Sun
Milky Way - Valley of the Sun
Twice, twice...
Twice, twice...
Twice, twice...
Twice, twice...
early morning shoot out...
early morning shoot out...
Milky Way and Snow
Milky Way and Snow
San Luis - Solitaire
San Luis - Solitaire
Star Trails - Great Sand Dunes
Star Trails - Great Sand Dunes
Mosca, Colorado
Mosca, Colorado
Mosca Star Trails
Mosca Star Trails
San Luis Valley - Source of Light
San Luis Valley - Source of Light
Shooting Star
Shooting Star
Heavenly - South Park
Heavenly - South Park
Another Post - Jefferson, Colorado
Another Post - Jefferson, Colorado
Dark Horse Nebula
Dark Horse Nebula
Orion Rising
Mt. Evans - Milky Way
Mt. Evans - Milky WayFist "stacked" image of the Milky Way.  Eight individual frames stacked together to create clarity in the final image.  Quite happy with the results. Made from 8 light frames (captured with a SONY camera) by Starry Landscape Stacker 1.4.5.
Milky Way on Mt. Evans
Milky Way on Mt. EvansSquaw Pass road, from Evergreen to Idaho Springs, cuts along the spine of a ridge on the north flank of Mt. Evans.  It is a beautiful overlook and I need to remember how accessible it is, but because of it's proximity to the city the ambient light is very difficult to capture clean, detailed Milky Way images.I have about two hours worth of images from March 10th and I have edited and reedited them multiple times.  I wasn't careful enough when setting my camera up, so getting a final, clean image has been a challenge. Made from 20 light frames (captured with a SONY camera) by Starry Landscape Stacker 1.5.1.
finding north
finding northFind the Big Dipper, find your way home...  
Clouds over Stagecoach
Clouds over StagecoachI had planned for a time lapse of the rising Milky Way.  The clouds were too thick initially, and I was later than I had intended to be finding this location.  I just hadn't planned well enough for this first outing.Single image exposure, taken from about 100 hundred images of the sky that morning.
Twilight over the Yampa
Twilight over the YampaThe first night of the Milky Way season found me in Steamboat Springs, but it also found me in the clouds.  I wasn't able to capture the images I had hoped for, but the results are still beautiful.
South Park Milky Way
Hoosier Pass - Twilight Panorama
Hoosier Pass - Twilight PanoramaMilky Way season has begun in the Northern Hemisphere, and it  seems to be a good thing so far!This image is a set of 3 images stitched together on the morning of March 26th, 2018.  I hiked out the forest road on the west side of Hoosier Pass to capture the Milky Way before the morning light drowned it out.This is a smaller version of the original work.  The full size is 7 images, and over 150 MB.  Wondering what that will cost to print, large. 
Hoosier Pass - Panorama 1
Hoosier Pass - Panorama 1This is the far left panel of the panomram, looking to the north as Hoosier Pass drops over into Summit County from the crest of the Continental Divide
Hoosier Pass - Twilight Detail
Hoosier Pass - Twilight DetailMilky Way season has begun in the Northern Hemisphere, and it  seems to be a good thing so far!This image is a set of 7 images stitched together on the morning of March 26th, 2018.  I hiked out the forest road on the west side of Hoosier Pass to capture the Milky Way before the morning light drowned it out. 
Orion Rising - Tomahawk SWA
Orion Rising - Tomahawk SWA
Milky Way over the Paris Mine - Detail
Milky Way over the Paris Mine - DetailThe Rocky Mountains are synonymous with "boom and bust," unfortunately so.  The Paris Mill is just one of the many relics that dot the landscape.  The rich loads of Buckskin Gulch fueled the economy and a like so many other mining regions, the population receded as quickly as it grew.  This detail of the Milky Way taken near the ghost town of Buckskin Joe.  The Paris Mine was just one of many to thrive and crash, along with with the so many lives. The largest sample of the Colorado's gemstone, rhodochrosite, was found in Buckskin Gulch.  Remnants of the Sweet Home Mine, Hungry Five Mine, Paris Mine and many more still dot the mountain's walls.
Milky Way over the Paris Mill - Detail
Milky Way over the Paris Mill - DetailThe Rocky Mountains are synonymous with "boom and bust," unfortunately so.  The Paris Mill is just one of the many relics that dot the landscape.  The rich loads of Buckskin Gulch fueled the economy and a like so many other mining regions, the population receded as quickly as it grew.  This is a image was created by stacking 10, long exposure images together to create one, highly detailed images and is the smaller version of the original work.  The full size is over 150 MB.  The relic of the Paris Mill is in a preservation trust, and will hopefully stand for many more to see. But please, respect the signs and stay out of the structure. 
Milky Way over the Paris Mill
Milky Way over the Paris MillThe Rocky Mountains are synonymous with "boom and bust," unfortunately so.  The Paris Mill is just one of the many relics that dot the landscape.  The rich loads of Buckskin Gulch fueled the economy and a like so many other mining regions, the population receded as quickly as it grew.  The relic of the Paris Mill is in a preservation trust, and will hopefully stand for many more to see. But please, respect the signs and stay out of the structure.
Continental Divide - Twilight Detail
Continental Divide - Twilight DetailRocky Mountain National Park, Loveland Pass, and Maroon Bells get an incredible amount of publicity, and its understandable why.  But honestly, any place away from the excessive city light can create a gorgeous Milky Way setting, and adding in some snow, and trees, for me makes an even more compelling site.This is a single image that is part of the larger panorama, taken on the morning of March 26th, 2018.  I hiked out the forest road on the west side of Hoosier Pass to capture the Milky Way before the morning light drowned it out.This is a smaller version of the original work.  The full size is 7 images, and over 150 MB.  Wondering what that will cost to print, large. I created two different sets of images in fading night, simply because I could.  
Continental Divide - Twilight Panorama
Continental Divide - Twilight PanoramaRocky Mountain National Park, Loveland Pass, and Maroon Bells get an incredible amount of publicity, and its understandable why.  But honestly, any place away from the excessive city light can create a gorgeous Milky Way setting, and adding in some snow, and trees, for me makes an even more compelling site.This panorama is a set of 4 images stitched together on the morning of March 26th, 2018.  I hiked out the forest road on the west side of Hoosier Pass to capture the Milky Way before the morning light drowned it out.This is a smaller version of the original work.  The full size is 7 images, and over 150 MB.  Wondering what that will cost to print, large. I created two different sets of images in fading night, simply because I could.  
Continental Divide - Twilight Detail
Continental Divide - Twilight DetailRocky Mountain National Park, Loveland Pass, and Maroon Bells get an incredible amount of publicity, and its understandable why.  But honestly, any place away from the excessive city light can create a gorgeous Milky Way setting, and adding in some snow, and trees, for me makes an even more compelling site.This is a single image that is part of the larger panorama, taken on the morning of March 26th, 2018.  I hiked out the forest road on the west side of Hoosier Pass to capture the Milky Way before the morning light drowned it out.This is a smaller version of the original work.  The full size is 7 images, and over 150 MB.  Wondering what that will cost to print, large. I created two different sets of images in fading night, simply because I could.  
Milky Way - Buckskin Gulch
Milky Way - Buckskin GulchI have a hard time NOT taking pictures when I get outside.  But know that all of this is fleeing and not wanting to give up on the perfect conditions and light, I do often over shoot. This panorama is probably a result of "just one more shot," more than being a really spectacular one.  
Mt. Evans in the setting moon
Mt. Evans in the setting moonMt. Evans is another favorite subject.  At the end of Mosquito Gulch, this cirque stands with the history of derelict mining mills at its feet. Snow and moonlight amplify its beauty.
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Hoosier Pass - Stacked
Hoosier Pass - StackedThe Milky Way can make nearly any roadside attraction more beautiful.  It did this on Hoosier Pass, rising above the Continental Divide. Made from 9 light frames (captured with a SONY camera) by Starry Landscape Stacker 1.5.1.
Buckskin Mountain - B/W
Buckskin Mountain - B/WThe stars do actually come out, even if it's in black and white.  The light in the clouds is from Leadville, just on the other side of the mountain.  
Milky Way Rising over Squaw PassI've struggled with the light on this one.  I wasn't careful when I set my camera up and one of the settings was in auto mode. This mode kept shifting through the imaging sequence, so nothing was consistent. Lesson learned.
Star Trails - Mt. Evans
Star Trails - Mt. Evans
Star Trails - Tarryall Reservoir
Star Trails - Tarryall Reservoir
Star Trails - Mt. Evans ii
Star Trails - Mt. Evans ii
Star Trails - South Platte River
Star Trails - South Platte River
Island in the Sky - Milky Way Panorama
Island in the Sky - Milky Way PanoramaMilky Way season is fairly long, from March to October, but each month because of the moon there about 10 really good nights to shoot. Add problematic weather into the mix and you may have to skip a month. This almost happened for April, but a harried trip to Canyonlands National Park brought me some success for April!
Milky Way over Ice
Milky Way over IceThe frozen South Platte made for a perfect compliment to the the mid-winter Milky Way.  Though most photographers and astronomers prefer to peer into the core, and I do too, the dark skies could not be ignored here.Made from 30 light frames (captured with a SONY camera) by Starry Landscape Stacker 1.4.5.
Island in the Sky - Milky Way Core
Island in the Sky - Milky Way CoreMilky Way season is fairly long, from March to October, but each month because of the moon there about 10 really good nights to shoot. Add problematic weather into the mix and you may have to skip a month. This almost happened for April, but a harried trip to Canyonlands National Park brought me some success for April!This is one of eight images used to construct the panorama.
Milky Way over Island in the SkyClouds almost got the best that night. But, in fact, they really added to Milky Way rise.
Milky Way over Elk River
Milky Way over Elk RiverI inadvertanlly drove around for an hour trying to find this composition. I had promised myself over and over and over again that I would find, and capture the Milky Way. I know in hindsight that I missed many, many opportunities, with all of the beautiful destinations of the past year's travels, but I was and still am ecstatic about this image.It took wading out into the shallow current of the Elk River, to find the Galactic Core. Light pollution from the city of Steamboat did not help, but it also did not deter. This is a single image, so the vibrancy was quite surprising.Milky Way over Elk River
Mosquito Gulch
Mosquito Gulch The pond was a happy accident. There is a mine near here that I have been composing, but the run-off waters kept me from getting there. Happily, I shoot the reflections off of the water. Lightning flashes from the Front Range storms lit the sky as unidentified animals bedded down nearby. A late night adventure that I won’t soon forget.
Steamboat Lake - Milky Way Core
Steamboat Lake - Milky Way CoreThis set of compositions has been on my mind for a while. Historic structures, truly dark skies, and a rising Milky Way just add up. This and the accompanying panorama were shot at 18mm, with ISO 3200 | F2.8 | 25 secs. settings. Using the Sony a7s, and a Ziess Batis 18mm, these settings continue to produce stunning results.The composition centers on the Fetcher Brother’s barn, which overlooks the southern shore of the lake.
Steamboat Lake - Milky Way Panorama
Steamboat Lake - Milky Way PanoramaThis set of compositions has been on my mind for a while. Historic structures, truly dark skies, and a rising Milky Way just add up. This and the accompanying panorama were shot at 18mm, with ISO 3200 | F2.8 | 25 secs. settings. Using the Sony a7s, and a Ziess Batis 18mm, these settings continue to produce stunning results. This image is a composite of six images stitched together in Lightroom.The composition centers on the Fetcher Brother’s barn, which overlooks the southern shore of the lake.
Summer Post
Summer PostThis set of compositions has been on my mind for a while. Historic structures, truly dark skies, and a rising Milky Way just add up. This was shot at 25mm, with ISO 3200 | F2 | 15 secs. settings. Using the Sony a7rii, and a Ziess Batis 25mm, these settings continue to produce stunning results.This post is another favorite subject. I first shoot it during the winter, when is was buried in snow with on the top 18 inches exposed. Looking backing, that is still a favorite image, and capturing it during the summer, under the stars proves the value of going back to composition again and again can be just has gratifying.
Summer Solstice Bouquet
Summer Solstice BouquetFinding unique subjects to place in Milky Way images possess some interesting challenges. The biggest challenge usually involves the lighting of subject; mainly from an esthetic standpoint you have to ask yourself, do you or do you not want the subject to be lit? Since photography is really about finding the light, shooting in the absence of it means your creativity has to be pushed just a bit further.Fortunately modern cameras to such an amazing job of “seeing in the dark,” that it’s rarely the case that you really need to worry about lighting. In some instances, banks and panels of lights are brought in to illuminate the subject, while at other times just the silhouette is emphasized so no additional lighting is required. And, because this is how life goes, sometimes you are able to take advantage of ambient light and atmospheric conditions which effectively light up your subject. I’d been focusing on the Milky Way this particular night, but since the clouds came in and I couldn’t get the dark sky and compositions I wanted, it seemed like a good opportunity to try out a technique I’d been seeing lately on social media; blur the starry sky out in the background to create a dreamy, more playful composition. This bunch of wild sunflowers seemed up to the task for posing, so I gladly obliged them with a few quick images.
London Mountain
London MountainThis style of blurring out the stars, especially the Milky Way is very captivating. Normally the goal for astrophotographers is to create pin-sharp stars that leave you eyes in wonder. Taking this softer, defocused approach has been an interesting and rewarding challenge. This technique allows me to back to some of my favorite images, and find them again under that band of the Milky Way.
Same post, different season...
Same post, different season...
boundless
boundlessThe solitude of the night sky has me captivated this summer. The lonely and broken fence line on the Grand Mesa in Western Colorado seems a simple reminder of the futility of trying to reign the world in.
Milky Way over Maroon Bells
Milky Way - Maroon Bells
Milky Way - Maroon BellsAn icon, over an icon. I couldn’t not attempt the shot. This was an amazing night of walking and shooting and being out under the stars. I’m learning that astrophotography is demanding, and not very forgiving. But, when everything works, it is very, very rewarding. Images like this make me want to go back for more and more.Made from 30 light frames (captured with a SONY camera) by Starry Landscape Stacker 1.6.1. Algorithm: Median
Milky Way over Maroon Bells II
Milky Way over Maroon Bells IIThis was an amazing night of walking and shooting and being out under the stars. I’m learning that astrophotography is demanding, and not very forgiving. But, when everything works, it is very, very rewarding. Images like this make me want to go back for more and more.I will definitely be back as this shooting season continues.
Milky Way over Lewis Lake
Milky Way over Lewis Lake - Still
Milky Way over Lewis Lake - StillI’ve been working on shooting the Milky Way for close to a year now and while these still aren’t the compositions I was aiming for, they are such a radical improvement over what I was shooting, and I’m really happy with this composition in particular. I’m hoping for a tracker in the next year, which will allow for even more color and contrast in these images, but until then, I’ll find some different nighttime locations!Made from 24 light frames (captured with a SONY camera) by Starry Landscape Stacker 1.6.2. Algorithm: Median
Moonrise over Mirror LakeAn oddly beautiful and lonely evening. The first four hours spent under the rising Milky Way, then moving to this pristine patch of water to watch the New Moon do the same thing.
Milky Way - Hartsel Stage stop
Milky Way - Hartsel Stage stopA common subject for the Milky Way, this stage stop near the town of Hartsel plays the reminder to a different time, but one still firmly planted in our present existence.
Mirror Lake after Midnight
Mirror Lake after MidnightI’d originally intended to shoot the rising Milky Way over Mirror Lake, but wasn’t satisfied with the composition and the relationship to the Milky Way. I decided to comeback though, to shoot star trails, but again was foiled by not enough planning ahead of time, and the lower aspect of the North Star.The tail end of the Milky Way, reflecting in the lake is worth compensation for this night’s outing.
Nodal North - Valley of the Sun
Nodal North - Valley of the Sun
Star Light, Star Bright...
Star Light, Star Bright...I have to admit that I really, really do like this image. I have attempted this format before, but can honestly say that the results were not what I’d hoped for. A year later, and a little better understanding of the process, and more favorable conditions gave me the chance to shoot multiple frames so that they could be stacked to reduce image imperfections and bring out detail that a single image in low light just can’t produce.
First of the Season
First of the SeasonEarly season Milky Way, arriving just before dawn, climbing over the Continental Divide.
North Star
North StarAnother star trail composition shot over the Valley of the Sun, with Mt. Bross in the distance. This is 560 images stacked together to show nearly three hours of passing time.
Milky Way - Valley of the Sun
Milky Way - Valley of the Sun
Twice, twice...
Twice, twice...A similar composition to a shot last month from the San Luis Valley. It’s been three weeks since I was able to take advantage of the Milky Way, and I hope to have many, many more nights under the stars this summer. But right now, with the end of the school year approaching, there are so many things to accomplish and so little time for planning.
Twice, twice...
Twice, twice...
early morning shoot out...
early morning shoot out...A similar composition, but a completely different location. Strange weather, it was extremely windy up high, and the blown snow created more diffraction than normal. The coloring was hard to correct, but the effect is still apparent.
Milky Way and Snow
Milky Way and Snow
San Luis - Solitaire
San Luis - Solitaire This style of composition is quickly becoming a favorite for me. Another overnight drive to the San Luis Valley to catch the Milky Way as thrown off by the moon. Somehow in the week I’d missed the moon phase and didn’t realize it was setting in the early morning. BUT, that allowed for this framing, with the Milky Way well above the horizon and the Moon just about to set, the glow of the illuminated the post, and gave an amazing brilliance to the scene.
Star Trails - Great Sand Dunes
Star Trails - Great Sand DunesMost often star trail compositions are shot using a wide angle lens, one that allows you to center on the North Star and then take in the full arch of the stars as we spin under them in the night sky. I decided to try something different by using a longer focal length, 85mm this time, and only record a portion of that arch. Shooting north and west into the Sangre de Cristo mountains, the scale of the night sky becomes more evident, especially when your eyes catch the lower right portion of the frame and realize that is Star Dune, the tallest dune in North America.
Mosca, Colorado
Mosca, ColoradoThis is the more common composition of the Milky Way, clear, pinpoint sharp stars, a less focused foreground subject (if you haven’t created a composite image, which I haven’t) and the the glow of the star clouds and nebula being the thing that draws you attention.
Mosca Star Trails
Mosca Star TrailsThe difference a few hours can make is really remarkable with night time photography. The moon had fully set by the time I start to shoot these frames. In all there are a little over 150, stacked together to create another sweeping arch in the night sky over the Sangre de Cristo mountains.
San Luis Valley - Source of Light
San Luis Valley - Source of LightUsing a longer lens, 85mm does a lot to compress a scene and can separate the subject from the background. In this case, the subject is a worn our fence post still stung with barbed wire, and the background is Mt. Blanca illuminated by the Milky Way. I wasn’t as careful with this composition as I should have been, but I do like the results.
Shooting Star
Shooting StarIn photography, the term used to describe the out of focus area, the blurry area, is called “bokeh.” It is described in a variety of ways and is used to highlight the subject. I have become intrigued by this technique, especially in a nightscape like this, where the Milky Way itself creates the background. The challenge with this type of shot is having a subject, in this case the trunk of a long dead tree, but interesting enough AND be still enough, as the shutter will remain open for as many as 20 seconds. So, I decided to set this up, as a fairly simple composition. And, while I’ve caught shooting stars, really meteors, before in a frame, I’ve never had one be so bright and distinct. I think it is because of the defocused nature the night sky itself.
Heavenly - South Park
Heavenly - South ParkThat's Jupiter, near the center of the frame. That’s another lonely soul, up in the middle of the night. That’s the core of the Milky Way, the way I’d initially intended to shoot it. The composition is compromised of 35 images stacked together to give clarity and reduce distracting elements referred to as “noise.” I’m certainly not expert at this work, but I do enjoy it, and I do feel that overall the results are improving.
Another Post - Jefferson, Colorado
Another Post - Jefferson, ColoradoNational Geographic received a lot of bad publicity recently for some Milky Way images that were published in their magazine. The images actually violated the publications own rules, and they have since taken the images down and the photographer’s work is not getting any credit. That said, I think it’s import to disclose the work. I do try to be honest about what I shoot, and what I share. I think I’ve been honest about the fact that I do edit my images; there is color and definition that the eye doesn’t necessarily see, that the camera does. And, your phone is in fact a computer, so even the image that you snap with it is processed by the software before you actually see it. The hashtag #nofilter is actually pretty meaningless, unless the image was captured as an ARW file, and that is pretty difficult to do.
Dark Horse Nebula
Dark Horse NebulaExtreme work, both on the composition and editing ends of this image. The is a series of shot into the Dark Horse Nebula, which currently has the planet Jupiter sitting right in the heart. Off to the west lies Anteres, at the heart of the Constellation Scorpius. All totaled, this represents 80, 3 second composition shot over a of about 6 minutes.
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