Milky Way Above Shenandoah National Park
Landscape photographers are a weird breed of people. First of all, we were driving around on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park thinking that we were the only idiots out dodging the deer at 2 AM. But then we pull into the parking area for Big Meadows and there is another car parked there. Mike Besant suddenly yells "Hey Larry!" into the darkness, and I'm thinking he's just lost his mind. But then Larry answers back and the four of us have a long conversation standing in the middle of a field while the rest of the world is sleeping off their Fourth of July celebration. In spite of the fact that I was freezing my butt off in the wind, it was a great night of shooting with Mike Besant, George Fletcher, and Larry Brown.
The photo above was comprised of a 10 shot vertical pano, 25 seconds, ISO 3200 at F2.8. One of the main reasons that I wanted to shoot up at the Big Meadows is that I had seen some shots of silhouetted trees against the city lights along the horizon with the Milky Way above. I was going for that here, but was shocked at how much light the D4 and the Nikkor 14-24 were able to pick up. Not only did the camera pick up detail in the field, but there appears to be SHADOWS under the trees. There was NO moon in this shot as it had set at 12:15 AM so all of the light in this photo was generated by the stars and a bit of light pollution from the valley below. There is also a bit of airglow on the right side of the frame.