Stars over Castle Rock

Starry night sky and the northern tail of the Milky Way over Castle Rock, a sandstone monument in Castle Valley, Utah (about 16 miles northeast of Moab). There are "notes" on the above photo outlining the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and the Double Cluster. The top portion of this light-painted monument is called Castleton Tower -- a 400-foot (120 m) sandstone tower standing on a 1,000 foot talus cone, rising a total of 1,400 feet (427 m) above the valley.


Light Painting the 'Rock': My son, Chris, assisted me on this photo shoot. He climbed to a bluff 2,000 feet (610 m) to the left of me and painted the monument and tower with a 2-million candle power halogen spotlight. We synchronized his 15 seconds of painting and my 15 seconds of camera exposure time via two-way radios. We were both about 4,750 feet (1,448 m) from the center of the monument (see these 2 photo maps). I used an EF 24mm f1.4L II lens on a Canon 5D Mk2, exposing for 15 seconds @ f2.0, ISO 5000. Here is additional information about how I photograph these "NightScapes".


My new ebook, Milky Way NightScapes, gives extensive details on how to enhance the landscape foreground. Three other chapters cover planning, scouting, forecasting star/landscape alignment, shooting and post processing.


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See the awe-inspiring NightScape VIDEO – with one Milky Way after another!


Behind the scenes: The NightScape Story


Popular Rock Climbing Location: Castleton Tower is one of the top 50 rock climbs in North America. In fact, over 40,000 people have made this difficult, 5.9 rated climb! Click here for a close-up of the base of the tower, where they start their ascent.


Please visit my photostream every Thursday to see a new ''NightScape'' image. Read the Huffington Post story about my NightScape photography.


Explore - #49 for Nov. 17, 2011 - Thanks everyone! (What is Explore? How do I get Explored?)


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Taken on October 21, 2011