Nikon D810, 24-70, f/2.8, 25 seconds, ISO 4000, Tripod
"Galaxy Rising:" My thoughts behind capturing this shot, which I have not seen done before by others, was first, to be original, which sometimes is hard to achieve among the increasing prevalence of night sky photos. The small mountain in the bottom of the picture is called Thumb Butte, and is our town's landmark, giving it at least some local significance. Secondly, it was really my first experiment in seeing if I could even achieve this type of composition, trying to capture both land and sky at an optimal time when the two seemed to merge visually and aesthetically. Also a first for me was utilizing software like PlanIt for Photographers, to help better anticipate what time the vertical alignment would occur. This was very helpful in my research and efforts. I have always been amazed by the night sky, however, long before such technologies existed, and can recall many summer nights in my youth spent just staring at what I called "diamond dust in the sky." Having continually advancing tools become available in the form of camera sensors, low-light-capacity lenses, and planning software, just adds fuel to my fire for astrophotography, in terms of both taking my own photos and enjoying the work of others. Execution-wise, it took 2 nights to capture the Milky Way vertically rising over Thumb Butte. My first night's attempt was thwarted by sudden, fast-moving clouds, followed by raindrops entering the scene just as the galaxy was rising into alignment!