Mount Evans may be close to Denver's light pollution, but at 14,000 feet in elevation, the view of the stars above is very clear. In this image, Milky Way stars trail across the sky above the Meyer-Womble Observatory near the top of the mountain.
The Meyer-Womble Observatory was built in 1996 as the 2nd highest vantage point of any telescope on the planet. It's been said that because it stands above 40% of the atmosphere's light-distorting effects, images produced by the observatory sometimes rival those of the Hubble Space Telescope in clarity and resolution.
How I Got The Shot
Since I'd been to this location a few times before, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted this time. I knew I wanted timing that would have the Milky Way leaning over the observatory while I looked at the front. I also knew that while the city lights from Denver provided most of the illumination, I wanted to add some from the far right as well (using an LED Light Panel). Finally, I wanted a single long-exposure image that showed some real motion of the stars above.
It also helped that I was willing to go back to this location to see it under different weather conditions. Sometimes had too many clouds, other times had none at all. I wanted some clouds and on this night, it came easy.
After focusing and picking a composition, I started exposure testing with my exposure settings using some high ISO test shots and my Long-Exposure Cheat Sheet. Then, I turned on my camera's long-exposure noise reduction before opening up the shutter for 33 minutes (I was aiming for 32). This was my last shot for the night so I let the noise reduction finish while I drove home.
� Camera Body -�Nikon D800 Digital SLR Camera
� Camera Lens - Bower 14mm f/2.8 Ultra Wide-Angle Lens with Focus Confirm Chip for Nikon
� Tripod Head -�Acratech GV2 Ball Head / Gimbal Head with Lever Clamp�&�Acratech Large Leveling Base
� Tripod Legs -�FEISOL Elite CT-3472 Rapid Tripod Legs
� L Bracket - Kirk BL-D800 L-Bracket for Nikon D800, D800E and D810
� LED Light Panel - F&V Z96 UltraColor LED Video Light