when you wish (upon a star)
(begin shameless plug)
This image is one of 125 finalists in the "Share the Experience" Official Federal Parks and Recreation Lands Photo Contest. Voting is open to the public until January 31st, and you can vote once per day. So go vote (not necessarily for me, but for whomever you think deserves it... though I won't complain if you pick me ;-) I also saw one of Brian (chaybert's photos there, and in general there are some impressive images.
(end shameless plug)
My one and only night in the Grand Tetons was spent photographing star trails; looking back, it was worth the sleep I lost. From my campsite at Signal Mountain it was only a minute-long hike to the edge of Jackson Lake. I was admittedly nervous following the trail through a patch of woods to the lake's edge... it was sooo very dark, and the trail ended about 20 feet above the water, and I heard howling in the distance for quite some time. I know, I know... silly stuff, but it was still enough to give me goosebumps.
I tried three or four different exposure lengths, varying from 15 minutes to, I believe, almost two hours. This was one of the longer ones. In between exposures I crawled back into the tent to try and sleep... each time my alarm went off again, it was a battle to crawl out of the warmth, put my shoes on and stumble back to the edge of the lake where my cold little Nikon FM sat on his tripod. (I was also a bit nervous about leaving my camera and tripod unsupervised for that amount of time, even being only a minute away from it, but I wasn't about to stand beside it for two hours!)
Anyway, yes, the Tetons. Beautiful, beautiful mountains. It was quite worth it in the end. ;-)