Horseshoe Bend

I had learned that there was a famous feature of the Colorado River called Horseshoe Bend near Page Arizona, but it was not particularly obvious to travelers passing through that town. Sure enough, marked by an inconspicuous sign, I found a parking area at the trailhead of a half-mile hike that ends abruptly at the rim of the canyon. A thousand feet below, the river makes a dramatic winding around this peninsula from the far side plateau. It is a huge view; this wide angle shot attempts to fit it all in.

A nearly full moon is out, illuminating the scene. This is a composite of individual frames, each of 5 minute duration taken over a two hour period. During that time, clouds of various types drifted past, sometimes obscuring most of the sky. This image shows the first 30 minutes and the last 40 minute periods of the total time, revealing the brightest stars trailing across a lunar-lit sky.

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Horseshoe Bend, near Page AZ
4 Nov 2006
EOS 20Da, EF-S 10-22mm at 10mm
5 min, f/8, ISO 100


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Sentinel Point

Sentinel point in Yosemite National Park. One of my first digital startrail images comprises four exposures of 15 minutes each. Image composited and noise reduced in Photoshop.

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Sentinel Point, Yosemite
27 April 2006
Canon EOS 20Da, EF-S 10-22m at 10mm
4 x 15 min at f/4, ISO800


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Flatirons and the Moon

This is an early experiment in taking star trail photos with a digital camera. Ninety exposures of 1-minute each were composited with the “lighten” blending mode in Photoshop. During this elapsed time, the moon entered the frame. It has been dodged out except for its position in the final exposure.

I had traveled to Boulder Colorado frequently, where this section of the Rocky Mountain’s front range offers protection and beauty to the CU campus. In all of my prior trips, the days were sunny and clear, but when the sun set, the mountains pulled a blanket of clouds over themselves.

Not so on this day, the day I had come to see my son graduate. A few wisps of moisture drifted across the peaks, but the sky stayed open, and the full moon illuminated the slabs of the flatirons with its distinctive diffuse light.

In the high resolution copy of this image, the individual exposures are discerned. Each was actually 55 seconds long, separated from the next by 5 seconds. This is too long a delay, the gaps between the star trail segments is visible. At lower resolution, the segments merge together to form the classic pattern of stars apparently streaming across the sky.

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Boulder Colorado
12 May 2006
EOS 20Da, EF-S 10-22mm at 22mm
55sec, f/5.6, ISO 200


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Orion Nebula HDR

An early experiment in using different exposures to build a high dynamic range (HDR) image of the Orion Nebula. The “Running Man” nebula is revealed to its upper left.

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Monument Valley, Navaho Nation
5 November 2005
Televue 85 f/5.6
Canon EOS 20Da


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Monument Valley Lightshow

A 90-minute exposure captures a variety of lights.  The stars mark their clockwork passage across the sky of course, but civilization also leaves its mark.  Airplane beacons flash as they pass through, distant towns show on the horizon, and local traffic finds its way along the private road below.  Private, but not unseen, and when the headlights aim in my direction, with the lens wide open, the film captures their flare.

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Monument Valley, Navaho Nation
4 November 2005
Pentax 6×7, 55mm f/3.5, 90 minutes
Kodak E200 +1 stop push


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Earth Shadow behind Monument Valley

As the sun sets in the west, the view to the east shows a distinct purplish band at the horizon.  This is the Earth’s shadow on the sky, a forecast of the twilight to come.

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Monument Valley, Navaho Nation
3 November 2005
Canon EOS 20Da


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