Years ago, I didn't really consider the moon as a good thing when shooting stars. I figured moonlight would make most of the stars disappear. But then, I wasn't really taking advantage of the mountains because they weren't getting enough light to even appear in my pictures - they were just silhouettes. After reading a night photography book over the summer, I changed my strategy and figured a partial moon might help illuminate the peaks without losing the stars.
With that technique in mind, I started looking for great places to go. I was looking for a fantastic mountainous foreground that would really speak Colorado and Rocky Mountains in a starry night shot. So I came up with a crazy idea to hike up to a peak above Loveland Pass. I’d explored at night on Loveland Pass numerous times but hadn’t ventured very far because it’s so exposed above timberline. So with friends willing to join, I made plans for a night-time snowshoe trek up to Cupid. I figured any starry picture that had fourteen thousand foot peaks and a big giant cornice in the foreground had some serious potential for looking cool.
So over a period of time, I had been shooting with a thinner moon each time out with this night's moon being just 21% full - the thinnest I'd gone after so far. In the end, I still find it amazing how the long exposures pick up so much light. The mountains appeared great and the light pollution from Denver (50 some miles away) added a significant sunrise-like glow. And up top, the stars appear in force. All this and 14,000 foot Torreys Peak and other mountains dominating the scene... I do hope you like the results.
Little did I know that the wind above Loveland Pass rips at a fierce 60+mph in winter!! In fact, I’ll admit that dealing with the bitter cold wind was the biggest challenge. In what felt like a pretty severe environment, I was sure glad I’d brought friends!
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Feeding The Passion
This image was shot after a cold, super windy snowshoe trek to a peak called Cupid (elevation 13,117 feet) above Loveland Pass, Colorado. Fourteen thousand foot peaks dominate the scene as light pollution from Denver (50 some miles away) adds a significant sunrise-like glow.
- Date Captured:
- Mar 9, 2011
- Colorado, Loveland Pass
- Photo Gear:
- Nikon D300 with a Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye Lens
- Horizontal 3:2
- Ice / Snow, Light Pollution, Lines, Mountains, Night, Stars
- Dark, Warm, Cool, Blue, Purple, Red, Orange, Yellow