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The Milky Way over Balanced Rock

Big Bend National Park in the spring offers stunning views of the Milky Way Galaxy. This is why I enjoy hiking up the Grapevine Hills Trail to capture the Milky Way over Balanced Rock. It’s one of my favorite subjects to photograph. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I woke up early to reach the spot before dawn. The timing was perfect as it was pitch-black and cloud-free, giving me plenty of time to capture the natural beauty of the scene.

The Big Bend area is a designated dark sky area, which means there is minimal light pollution. This allows photographers to capture amazing photographs of the night sky without any distractions from the bright lights on the horizon. The International Dark-Sky Association awards the dark sky designation, and the locations are selected based on nominations by individuals or groups through a rigorous application process. Being a part of this exclusive club is an honor, and Big Bend’s natural beauty makes it a well-deserved recipient of this recognition.

Balanced Rock, Big Bend National Park, Milky Way, Night Photography, Stars
The Milky Way Over Balanced Rock

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/2.8, shutter speed at 25 seconds, and ISO set at 5000. I lit the rocks with my Coast HP7R flashlight (permitted in the national parks) and I used a tripod for stability given the long exposure. It is hard to light paint all these rocks in 25 seconds so I had to split my light painting into two sessions. As a result, this image is a composite of 2 images processed in Lightroom and completed in Photoshop using Nik Color Efex Pro.

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
© 2023 T. Kahler Photography, All Rights Reserved

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