Pentax K-1, Samyang 14 mm, f.28, 25 seconds, ISO 32000
This image was a complete surprise in a national park that has been photographed very extensively. Before sunrise I drove up toward Newfound Gap in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, planning to get some blue hour images from a couple outlooks up near the gap that are well known for sunrise photographs. On my way up I drove past another outlook with a view to the south that I had ignored during the day time. Even though I couldn’t see the Milky Way because it wasn’t dark enough, I knew that the Milky Way was due south at that hour and thought my camera might capture a hint of the galaxy with a long exposure and high ISO. So I turned around, aimed my camera where I thought the Milky Way would be, and 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 Milky Way, and also wispy clouds which I could not see myself.