Whatever Weds. The Milky Way

Copyright © 2020 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I woke up really early last week and the sky was cloudless so I thought I’d go out back and photograph the Milky Way.  The light-pollution is worse than I remember! This was at 3:49 A M!

Jupiter and Saturn are still shining brightly over the Pinenut Mountains. Mars has marched so far East it’s out of the frame.

Milky Way from my Patio_DMZ8560

What do you do when you wake up in the wee hours of the mornin?

Nikon D810|Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G| SunDisk Digital Film| PS CC 21.1.1

more to come…

48 thoughts on “Whatever Weds. The Milky Way

  1. You went down memory lane a lot, with this post! I LOVE this sky. Somehow you captured so much space – awesome!

  2. We’re moon gazers over here, we really are. I woke at 5:30 Wednesday and I showered and later I watched the sun come up. Not a fan of sunrises as much as sunsets and starry night skies take the prize with me. Beautiful shot!

    1. You must have loved the rising full moon last week! This morning in the wee hours the rising moon cresting the Pinenut mountains woke me up. The light was so bright and Jupiter was right there with her! I thought about getting up to get a photo, but the wind was so strong gusting up to 40 mph last night that I didn’t get out of bed I just watched her rise from my warm bed.

      The wind was so strong that it moved my patio umbrella and its cast iron stand 3 ft from the table where it lives!

  3. Too bad about the lights but this has an almost extraterrestrial feel. Like something big is about to happen. Anxiously awaiting for a battle to ensue. Okay, I’m done. 😝

  4. It’s crazy how much light pollution there truly is. It’s a beautiful capture of the Milky Way though. My home is covered in trees so I don’t see much of the night sky. I remember seeing the Milky Way as a child though and there wasn’t any light pollution where I lived in the 80s. Such a magical sight! Wee hours? What are those. 😉

    1. Thank you so much, Amy! I’ve been seeing too many mornings in the wee hours, but I am going to bed pretty early too. I need to stay up later then maybe I’ll get up at 5 or 6 instead of 3 or 4. 😀

  5. Stunning and humbling are the two words that come to mind. Deborah, when you are photographing the gorgeous night sky, do you think of the children who live in big cities and have never seen the stars? I think about that a lot. I was lucky to go to camp when I was a child. Back then, camp was sleepover, in the woods, for weeks at a time. I learned to love and appreciate the big sky, and I still do.

    Fast forward to our children. We made sure they had the same wonderful camp experience. Everyone else did day camps. Our kids were the few who went to sleepover camp, the new name. They thrived. They saw the sky you photograph. Years later, those same families wished they had sent their children to sleepover camp.

    Apologies for the long story. What you photograph is so important, so beautiful. I just wish every child could have that experience. Thank you! Best to you, Deborah.

    1. I loved your story and memories!
      We camped a lot…A LOT when I was girl, and if we were lucky enough to be in a national park’s real campground…we didn’t do that often as my parents preferred the high country and camping out in wilderness…anyway if we did go a real campground we’d get to go to the Ranger talks, and outdoor nighttime movies. I loved that especially the nighttime Ranger talks on the stars. When I had kids we took them camping, and I always drug them out to show them the stars and teach them the few constellations I knew, and I drug them out in the middle of the night to watch for comets which they grumbled about. They’re all grown up now and guess what. Just last week Baby Girl sent me a text asking me if I was watching Venus in the evening b/c it’s gorgeous she said! That made my day!

      Sorry, I took the long way around to say, “yes”! I think about the people who’ve never seen so many stars and we’re losing more dark skies every year. 😭

      1. I absolutely love your story, Deborah!! What a great experience growing up. I have never camped in a national park. So, thank you for telling me about it. When we find out that our kids actually remembered those experiences that and then turn around and shared them with their kids… big wow! Stars are magnificent. 😀

  6. Way to get out there! There is a definite glow on the horizon but that is cool too. I have been mentally prodding myself to get up early in the morning or go out late when it’s dark … COVID is making me lazy! It doesn’t help that we have a restriction to travel no more than 10 miles from home for recreation, which limits the possibilities.

    1. The travel limit is making me itch to get out too! I bet you have a wonderful dark sky from your property.

      If I go to bed too early I get up really really early anymore. The older I get the less sleep I need it seems. It’s so weird because I spent most of my life sleeping 10-12 hours a night! Up until my late 30’s I didn’t get up before noon willingly. 😴

  7. Love the photo. Too bad about the light pollution. Can you find a foreground to block it? 30 Sec exposure? When I wake up in the middle of the night, I get up and go pee and than go back to sleep. Once or twice when I can’t sleep, I’ll go outside and sit in the hot tub under the stars. Virtually no light pollution. Love Nature’s noises of the night.

    1. I’d love your night sky! I was eyeing up a place today with some hills that might hide most the light pollution, but there might be a glow still. I’ll have to try it. 20 second exposure.

      Thank you so much, Robert!

  8. So you made lemonade with the lemons of waking up so early. 🙂 And a tasty drink it was. I was also surprised by how much ambient light there was. I had the impression you were more in the middle of nowhere (in the best possible way.) I haven’t really looked here, as we’re pretty far east in the time zone and when I’ve awakened at 2 or 3, I’ve managed to go back to sleep. If it gets to be 5’ish, I usually read in bed for a bit, read my devotions, do my French lesson, or if a bit later, get up and take a walk. But here you have to get up really, really early to beat any light from the sun. Now in Wyoming at night, oh what a sky that it!!


    1. Thank you, Janet! No we’re not in the middle of nowhere, but outside of town. The lowest light and brightest lights on the horizon are 4 miles away, and the soft foggy one behind that are another 9 miles away. That’s downtown. That’s south of me. North 4 miles is Carson City. We’re old enough now to need services like our favorite stores, and a hospital even a small one like ours is, so we didn’t move to the middle of nowhere. I were 30 years younger and He-Man could Telecommute we would have!

      I’d love, love, love your WY night sky!

  9. Whatever time of day I wake up and it’s usually between 4:30-6, the absolute first thing is coffee. I need coffee. 🙂 We have way too many trees to capture something as beautiful as you did even with light pollution so thank you for sharing.

  10. What fun to read everyone’s responses to your question! And what an amazing thought that is … To wake up in the middle of the night and decide to go photograph the Milky Way!

  11. I look out the window and see which neighbors are up late. Some have lights on, some have green screens visible. I never see any people, though. Just random lights.

  12. It’s a beautiful photo, Deborah. I was surprised by the line of city lights at the horizon. I’m not a photographer, but I get it about “light pollution. Many years ago, down in the Keys, I took a nighttime boat ride, a good ways from the coast. The guy (very briefly, since it’s a safety issue) turned off the boat’s lights. The night sky exploded into stars! It was the most amazing thing for me. I realize your photography trips have taken you to many such starry nights, but that sight is something I’ve never forgotten. Hugs on the wing.

    1. What a cool experience that must have been! I’m always in awe when I’m in a dark place and I look up to see the stars. Sometimes it’s even hard to find very famous constellations when there are so many!

      Hugs back to you! 🥰

  13. That’s a lovely night photo, Deborah. We have too much light pollution around here. If I wanted a photo like this, I’d have to drive at least 45 minutes. So, thanks for sharing this !

  14. “What do you do when you wake up in the wee hours of the mornin?” – Glad you can get up then and take such wonderful photos to share with us!

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