week fifty-four — ghost town

as a part of my extended thanksgiving vacation, i drove to Big Bend with my dad and Lindsay. the  International Dark-Sky Association designated Big Bend as a Dark Sky Park in 2012, only the 10th such designation in the world. it’s thought to have the darkest skies in the lower 48 states, and my hope was soak up some of the night skies.

the stargazing was somewhat limited by the nearly full moon and partly cloudy skies, but the few hours just before sunrise when the moon had set were pretty amazing. this shot was taken about an hour before sunrise in Terlingua, a ghost town just outside the park. despite the fact that virtually none of the reds on the horizon were visible to the naked eye, the 30 second exposure picked up a great deal of hidden pre-sunrise color.

as far as technical details go, the key to this shot was using the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 super wide angle lens on my full frame 6D. in addition to being able to capture the foreground as well as a great deal of the sky, the wide angle allows for the shutter to be open for longer without visible star trails appearing. the longer shutter length in turn allows for a lower ISO to be used, which improves the quality of the image. using a full frame camera such as the 6D not only preserves the wide angle of the lens (as opposed to the typical crop sensor camera, which has the effect of increasing the focal length of the lens by about 1.6) but also produces a high-quality image at higher ISOs.

i’m out of Big Bend now, but my Thanksgiving trip is continuing in Houston with a wedding. when i return to Chicago and catch up on work, i’ll post some more shots from the trip on my photo blog. 🙂

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