Pentax K-1, 14mm, f.2.8, 25 sec., ISO 3200
This image was a nice surprise. Before sunrise one May morning I drove up toward Newfound Gap in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hoping to get some blue hour images from outlooks near the gap. As I drove by an outlook lower down, I saw the beginning of the blue hour unfolding in the sky above the foothills. Even though I couldn’t see the Milky Way because it wasn’t dark enough, I knew the viewpoint looked toward the Milky Way at that hour and thought my camera might capture a hint of the galaxy with a long exposure and high ISO. But I had to move fast before it became too light. I quickly took several exposures before the light changed, manually bracketing exposures based on prior experience photographing the Milky Way. This exposure picked up a trace of the galaxy, and also wispy clouds which I could not see myself.