Image No. 59 thru No. 63 – The Milky Way
On a clear moonless night, far away from the light pollution of our cities, a glance up at the night sky reveals what appears to be a faint swath of light. It is our own flat, pinwheel shaped center of our galaxy as seen looking through it’s center from one of it’s outer arms. What makes up this section of sky is anywhere from 200-300 billion stars (depending where you read), gas and dust about 100,000 light years across!! Knowing these facts makes you feel infinitesimal in the cosmos, and being alone in a dark, desolate landscape can be a bit intimidating. But the feelings of isolation will quickly disappear when you begin the business of trying to record this wonder in an image that conveys these feelings. Each image required an exposure of about 25-30 seconds to register the faint pinpoints of light on the camera sensor before they become blurry from the motion of the earth, which in itself is another bit of information that really puts your place in this universe into perspective. But what really made the whole process fun was lighting a tree and immediate surroundings with my headlamp, and an occasional passing car’s headlights, that really gave the images a more 3-dimensional feeling. Each frame during the session was different because you can never really duplicate what or for how long you light things with the headlamp. So I just kept at it until I found I was successful with a few in the 30-40 attempts. One thing I did notice is how my eyes were able to adjust and how much light actually is given off by just the stars.