Death Valley Dunes
Imagine yourself in Death Valley National Park on a cool evening in February. Not a cloud in sight, just the vast expanse of our universe twinkling overhead. Although Death Valley is one of the darkest places in the country, you can still see the distant glow of Los Vegas to the southeast. The dunes are completely empty except for you and your closest friends - you've got the perfect place for enjoying the night sky. Even with no artificial light, you can see the landscape all around you which is illuminated by nothing but the light from distant stars hundreds of millions of miles away.

My camera, mounted on a star tracker, captured the sky for 40 minutes for this shot. I captured the faint region of the Milky Way seen in this image. During the winter months, the bright core is not visible, but that doesn't mean you can't capture other parts of our home galaxy. On the top left you can see our neighboring galaxy, Andromeda. Way down the dunes, you can see my friends Tanner and Bryce posing for the foreground shot, offering a sense of scale.
Grand Teton
I came across this perfect alignment purely by coincidence as I was heading home from a chilly night of shooting the stars in Grand Teton National Park in September. I decided to pull off at this iconic spot in the park and was pleasantly greeted with clouds dissipating just in time for the Cygnus region of the Milky Way to pass directly over the Grand. As I shot my foreground a thin crescent moon rose from behind me and perfectly illuminated the mountain range. The feeling of being alone in this incredible park, surrounded by the sounds of elk bugling, an owl hooting, and coyotes yipping is one I will never forget.

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House in Namibia

We drove about 40 minutes from our lodge into the African savanna where this lone house stands miles from the nearest road. It was built years ago and abandoned - its position on the top of this hill makes it the perfect foreground subject for the setting Carina Nebula (that huge pink rose above it).

One thing about being that low in latitude that I wasn't expecting was how quickly the stars are visible. Even as the sun is still setting, you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye! I shared this incredible moment with my friend Egor who was my travel partner for my African adventure.

As soon as I saw the four bright stars above the house (the Southern Cross) I realized that this would be a perfect composition and ran with all of my gear across the savanna to find the perfect alignment. In the end I captured a single shot for the foreground and countless shots for the sky data - around 2 hours worth captured throughout that night and the following ones as well. The tricky thing with this part of the sky is that it sets early in the evening and rises again in the pre-dawn hours (upside down) so I had to be very intentional about how I captured all of the data needed to give a clean image.
Monument Valley

This is one of the shots I spent many hours planning and editing from my southwest road trip in 2021.

After a long day of driving from New Mexico, I arrived in Monument Valley, AZ. This Navajo land is something straight out of the movies - truly breathtaking. This spot in particular is famous for the scene in the film Forrest Gump where he decides to stop running across the country. The skies were crystal clear and the night sky was so bright I hardly even needed a flashlight to see around me.

This shot was achieved by snapping the foreground right after sunset at blue hour and then coming back around midnight when the Milky Way alignment was just right and shooting 4 shots panning vertically with my 85mm lens and camera on the star tracker.

I happened to meet a fellow astrophotographer at my campsite before heading off to shoot this image and we had a blast shooting together that night. Crazy how you can make friends even in the middle of the desert.
Monument Valley II
This image shows a wider perspective of the Milky Way from the same area where I shot my other one. I shot this one while waiting for the alignment on the other shot! The sky is roughly 40 minutes of exposure time, capturing all of the faint details of our galaxy.
Mount Hood
This image was captured over 3 hours - showing the rotation of Earth by letting the stars drag across the sky. Shot from Trillium Lake in Oregon, Mount Hood can be seen directly in the center of this image.
Namibian Arch
This panorama took me something like 4 hours to shoot. When I first began shooting it, I thought I'd just do an ultra-detailed shot of the Milky Way from one end to the other... but as I progressed through my night of shooting I realized I could capture the foreground as we were overlooking this grand scene from the top of a hill in the middle of the Namibian desert. If you look closely, you will be able to see some of the incredible details I was able to capture by spending so much time shooting this panorama at 50mm on my star tracker.

The post-processing of this piece was quite a challenge. I spent a solid three days attempting to merge the sky panels to form one cohesive arch. Shooting at a focal length of 50mm means the final piece comes out in incredibly high resolution, which is amazing when printing in this size but extremely taxing on my computer. On the bottom near the horizon, you see a reddish hue and I'm still not 100% sure if that's caused by airglow or dust blowing in the lower parts of the atmosphere. I've noticed this red hue in many of my images from both Africa and the American Southwest.
Horseshoe Meteors
I was lying awake late at night a few weeks before this image was captured thinking... Where could I shoot the Geminid meteor shower? It is the most active meteor shower of the year and I didn't want to miss it, but I knew it was going to be difficult to get clear skies during the winter months. As I perused Google Maps, I came across the idea to shoot one of the country's most photographed spots - Horseshoe Bend. Now I'd normally want to stay away from a spot like this as it doesn't inspire creativity when it has been done to death, but I had never seen it at night. So I checked my planning app and what do you know; the winter Milky Way arches right over the bend beautifully with the radiant of the meteor shower just overhead. Next thing I knew... I was on a plane to Arizona to meet my good friends Jason and Samil who had just booked their flights 24 hours before our start date. Talk about adventurous! I'm truly lucky to have had these guys along for the trip as it is SO helpful to have friends to support in difficult shooting conditions.

As for the shot itself, unfortunately, we learned that this site is closed at night. To execute this image, I was forced to stay late after sunset when twilight had just ended, quickly snap the foreground shot, then leave and shoot the sky portion elsewhere. The following night we camped under the stars in a remote location a couple hours away from Horseshoe Bend which is where I captured the winter Milky Way arch. Along with the foreground and sky, I spent two whole nights with my second camera mounted to a star tracker capturing as many meteors from this region of the sky as possible. In the end, I had something like 130 meteors, most of which you can see in the final composition. Although I wish I had been able to capture this all from the same location as I typically do, I had to respect the rules of this location while still being able to execute this vision I had in mind just a few weeks prior. That being said, I'm still very pleased with how the shot turned out!

Meteor size and orientation were respected in the final editing of this image.