My trip to West Texas to hike and photograph the Big Bend area last month was a lot of fun. One of my goals was to spend time at the Dorgan House near Santa Elena Canyon photographing the night sky and the sunrise. I posted photos of The Milky Way over Dorgan House and the Chihuahuan Desert Sunrise. After taking the latter photo, I pointed my camera gear North Northeast to photograph the back of the Dorgan House and saw the Big Dipper right over the house. The stars were super bright and the prominent constellation was very visible.
I wrote in a prior post about The Greater Big Bend International Dark Sky designation. The dark skies in the area offer us the ability to easily spot constellations like the Big Dipper (Ursa Major). Some of you are aware that two stars on the end of the Dipper’s “cup” point the way to the North Star (Polaris). Polaris is the tip of the handle of the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor), or the tail of the little bear in the constellation Ursa Minor. Both of the dippers rotate around Polaris so they are visible year-round, so long as you are in the northern hemisphere. The faint lines you see in the middle of the frame are likely satellites.
This image was taken with my Sony A7R IV using my Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 Lens set on 16mm. The camera was set on Manual mode with the aperture set at f/3.5, shutter speed at 20 seconds, and ISO set at 1000. I lit the house with my Coast HP7R flashlight (permitted in the national parks) and I used a tripod for stability given the long exposure. I also lit the fireplace with two battery-powered candles and some dead grass to make it look like a fire. This is a single image processed in Lightroom and completed in Photoshop using the latest version of Topaz AI to reduce the noise produced by the high ISO.
You can see other images like this in my Night Photography gallery by clicking here. You can also see other photos from Big Bend National Park by clicking here. Please use the section below to post your comments, questions, or suggestions.
T. Kahler Photography
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