Lunchtime Photo

One of the other things I did on my Arizona trip was shooting the night sky. Northern Arizona has some of the darkest night skies in the country, so it seemed a shame to waste the opportunity.

The surprising thing about the picture below is that it’s not a composite. Most night sky pictures are. For the sky itself, you have little choice in exposure: you use a shutter speed of 20 seconds with a high ISO and your lens wide open. The problem is that even a flashlight shines like the the sun with an exposure like that, so normally you have to take a picture of the foreground separately and then merge it with the sky. In this case, however, there was a shed about 200 feet behind me with only a single bulb over the door. It barely provided any light at all—which was perfect. It was just enough illumination to look normal even with a super-long exposure.

The moon is way overexposed, but there’s no help for that. I dodged it some with Photoshop, which helped with the clouds, but the moon itself is so blown out that nothing will help it.

Overall, though, this turned into a nice picture. The moon and the clouds are very picturesque, and the warm, shadowy colors of the fence make a very nice foreground. I’ll post more pictures like this one over the next few months.

January 28, 2020 — On I40 east of Kingman, Arizona

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