IT IS AN AMAZING PARADOX; of dark skies and radiant starlight, that illuminates my favorite place to photograph our night sky: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. My photography encompasses many of the things that I love, astronomy, the wilderness areas of the United States, and geology. Yellowstone is one of the most distinctively wild landscapes in the western United States and embodies these areas of my interests perfectly. The park only attracting those in search of adventure from all over the world, but also providing a dramatic, earthly context for astrophotography. Perhaps the most important thing about spending time in this quiet, wild place and looking up at the stars is the reminder that our possibilities for adventure are as limitless as is our universe.

1

Opalescent starlight pools of Abyss Pool.

Abyss Pool, the deepest of Yellowstone's geysers at 53 feet, is characterized by vibrant blue-green colors, the result of host thermophilic bacteria. By night Abyss Pool is transformed from its bright daytime colors to sparkling pools of luminescent starlight, thanks to its beautiful host bacteria.

2

Geyser pools of falling stars.

There are the wonderfully organized photographers that spend hours meticulously planning when, how, and what they are going to photograph. There are also the photographers who just get ‘lucky’, capturing moments without any prior planning whatsoever. I, however, fall in-between these two end-members; with night photography it is important to find dark skies, to little moonlight, and as little humidity in the air as possible. The right camera equipment; a good tripod, a wide aperture lens and a good, full-sensor camera come in pretty handy too. The most important thing however is to be safe; especially at night -- take friends, tell people where you are going, and prepare for any wilderness regions you are going to visit.

3

Falling stars over the geysers of West Thumb.

The area of West Thumb Basin is magical -- steaming geysers, with perfectly still waters allow the illusion that hundreds of stars are falling into their depths, with the colors of the geyser illuminating each one of those stars' reflections.

4

The galactic core of the Milky Way.

Yellowstone is how I imagine the earth to have been many millions years ago -- it is in its essence, primordial. The bubbling geysers, mud pools, and open pastures have created a world, unlike the one that we experience on a day-to-day basis. Instead, Yellowstone gives us a glimpse into the earth-forming processes below us. The galactic core of our Milky Way rising above the forests of Yellowstone National Park is an incredible sight, especially with the intense green of airglow as its backdrop. It's like the forest is rising-up to the Milky Way above it, creating the most incredible perspective of earth and space.

5

Mirrored reflections of the Milky Way.

The colors that we see in geysers of Yellowstone become polarized, dynamically changing as the Milky Way rises and then sets. The same geysers are constantly changing, both through their reflections of stars, and the way in which these reflections interact with the steam, water, and sediment content of the geysers.

What did you think of this article?
Meh
Good
Awesome