The Sky is Dark and Full of Stars!

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last week-end a girlfriend (T) and I went to Brookings, OR to scout, and photograph seascapes, and hopefully we’d have a clear night for night sky imaging in the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor.  We looked at the weather forecast for the week-end and it looked like we’d only have one really good night for any night sky imaging. We both hoped to photograph the Milky Way, and if we found a great spot for Star Trails we’d do that too, but it wasn’t a priority like the Milky Way was.

When we were at Arch Rock for sunset we realized straight-away that wouldn’t work out so well for a Milky Way location since it was facing west, but around the path a bit closer to the parking lot was a nice sea stack that faced directly south.  We both pulled out out cell phones and summoned our night sky app called Photo Pills to double check our thoughts, and find the time when the Galactic Center would line up over the sea stack.  After determining that 1:32AM it would line up we headed out to dinner, then back to the Hotel for a nap.

I’d been up since 5AM driving from my house in Silicon Valley up to T’s two hours north east of me. From there I drove all the way to Brookings, OR.  It’s an 8 hour drive without stops.  We stopped for gas, and lunch of course. Needless to say- I needed a nap!

My alarm sounded at 12:30AM. We were ready pretty quick and headed back to Arch Rock Viewpoint to photograph the Milky Way.

We were the only people there.  We set up took our test shots, and began shooting.  Before the trip I purchased a new filter to help me get a tack sharp focus at night. It’s called  SharpStar2 from LonelySpeck  I didn’t get it to work as it should have, but determining when I was in focus was easy. A lot easier than just using Live View alone.  That cut my set up time in half!  I’m going to be practicing here at home with the filter before my next night sky shoot.  After reading the instructions again it was definitely user error. I should have practiced with it at night before the trip, but I’m happy.

Milky Way over Sea Stack

It was really quiet just us, the sea, and the sound of our camera’s shutter opening and closing.   There was very little light pollution. The cliffs blocked most of the light from Brookings. You can see a light band at the horizon entering from the left of the frame. That’s the light from Brookings.  This was a great location with a dark sky.

Saturday night the fog rolled in. I’m so glad we went out Friday night!  T’s brother and S-i-L drove up to meet us and photograph the area Saturday.  After Sunset we headed back to town for dinner but, we got sidetracked with an Industrial night shot opportunity which I posted Wednesday

So, the fog didn’t completely ruin the night.  We had a late dinner with a glass of wine. I fell into my hotel bed after midnight, and slept in Sunday.

We had breakfast and said our farewells to T’s brother, and S-i-L and T and I set off for the long drive home.  Thankfully the drive was uneventful. 🙂

I hope to get back up there one day to explore more of the park. It’s a gorgeous coastline, and sky is dark and full of stars!

I hope you all have a lovely week-end! Can you believe June is just about over already?!!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| Hoodman Digital Film| Single Frame 20s| ISO 3200| PS CC 2017

more to come…


35 thoughts on “The Sky is Dark and Full of Stars!

  1. This was a unique perspective on the milky way, Deborah! This made me think of sailors and their views, Captain’s wives on their widow’s walks on coastlines looking out to sea! It really is a beautiful photograph which could create endless poems and stories. xo 💖

      1. Oh, it could seem to maybe wear sailors out. That’s a great question!
        Endless skies and starry nights Never could make me tire of them, especially over bodies of water.

  2. Wow! Great post title, magnificent shot! I think the band of light from Brookings adds to the overall composition — a happy accident. What beauty! Well done!

  3. Excellent shot and job getting out there! I love that you can see the silhouettes of the foreground and rock. I am wondering where you focused with the trees and grass seeming fairly close.

    1. Thank you so much Denise! I focused out at sea on a fishing boats light. When developed the image I cloned out the light b/c I found it distracting. It kept pulling my eyes down to the horizon and I wanted the viewer to look at the stars and Milky Way.

  4. I can’t believe how quickly June came and went! I love the blues in this Milky Way capture and the framing is beautiful. What a stunning sky!
    It does look like a wonderful place to explore! 🙂

  5. June flew by like it broke the sound barrier!
    Oh, starry skies! Oh, Milky Way! I mean, that’s downright majestic! I have no idea how to go about photographing such a thing, but you sure do! Wow!
    Your excursion sounds like a wonderful time, and I think, other than the photo, my favorite part was sleep in Sunday. I cannot wait to sleep in Sunday. 🙂

  6. There are a couple of *wows* needed on this one – first, for a brilliantly executed photo, and secondly for the military precision in which you tackled this adventure … not to mention the very long drive, early morning, and late evening.

    It’s not very often I get to see the Milky Way and it fills me with awe each time.

  7. Bloody hell. You were right next door and didn’t stop in for coffee? I’m actually headed out there this weekend to help cool down from the heat of the “western valleys” that we’ve been having. I will be just doing a day trip, so no milky way stuff. When you are there, I recommend Fat Irish for their excellent fish and chips or Superfly Martini bar and grill for quick fare, and oh yes, martinis. They make their own excellent Superfly Vodka right there in brookings

    1. Well, damn I didn’t think about that!

      It would have been nice to know about those restaurants, grilles too.
      I don’t like to say where I’m going and when I’m going to be away from home before hand.

      I hope you have a wonderful day trip and a safe journey there and back! I’ll have to remember to shoot you a DM if I am so fortunate to get back up there. Maybe we’ll be able to do a Meet-up.

    1. 🙂 There are signs posted in every parking lot that you have to be out by 10PM so we were prepared to have to vacate at any moment if the cops or rangers came by to shoo us out. We were lucky none did.

  8. Given all the time and effort that went into getting that photo, it’s remarkable to be able to tell you “it was totally worth it Deborah!” Oh my goodness, that is such a beautiful photo. I am looking at the branches on the right, and it almost seems like they’re pointing to the stars. I love this!

    1. Thank you so much Dan! I hadn’t really noticed it but you’re right the branches do seem to be reaching for the stars!

      I think it was worth it. I’d do it again, but I’d like more time to stay.

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