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Via Flickr:
Copyright 2013 Deborah M Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

What a night this was. I wanted to shoot the Milky Way while down in Death Valley and high winds and clouds foiled my plans the first night I was there. The second night the sky was clear to the south and the wind wasn’t too bad, so at 10PM He-man and I headed further south, but the wind shifted from north to south. I kept watching the clouds get closer and closer to my position. I wanted to go way out on the plain to shoot a Panorama, but He-Man said with Lightening I couldn’t. Huh? I thought you shouldn’t hide under a tree, but were okay with rubber soles and in the open. Living in CA where lightening is rare I don’t know squat about it. He-Man told me I’d be a sitting duck out there so, I didn’t dare go out into wide open to be the only thing standing. I stayed close to the car hoping the Milky Way would rise before the clouds got there, but that didn’t happen the clouds covered the sky before the Milky Way rose over the mountains. I took a few photos of the location, packed up then He-Man and I drove back to Stovepipe Wells.

I went to bed wanting the shot. I guess my mind kept time while I slept because I woke up wide awake about 2:45AM and my first thought was to go out and see if the sky had cleared and located the Milky Way. I dressed quietly then whispered to He-Man that I would be outside somewhere around the hotel looking for the Milky Way. He mumbled,…."be careful", and off I went.

I got out to the parking lot and looked up and there it was right over my head! I scanned the sky for lightening-there was none so I went hunting for a good location. I wanted to shoot a panorama of the sky. After shooting the pano I went to a nearby field and shot the densest part of the Milky Way. The whole 2 hours I was out shooting there were falling stars racing across the sky. I hoped I captured a few of them. Imagine how thrilled I was to see I had caught 2 possibly 3 in one frame!

I’m not sure my Pano is going to come out, but it was a great learning experience for the next time.

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 16mm @ f3.2| 30 seconds| ISO 3200| Manual Priority| Matrix Metering| Tripod

Death Valley National Monument, California

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