Star Trails over Zion's Angel's Landing

Zion National Park — 2012 View Full Star Trails Portfolio »

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Image Notes

Angel's Landing is the iconic landmark and hike in Zion National Park. It's the hike that introduced me to the magic of Zion way back in 1993. Our relationship continues to this day. So, naturally, exploring Star Trails possibilities for the first time in the park, I stared up at the sandstone monolith and, with the help of my iPhone's compass, giddily realized I could make an image with the North Star sitting right on top of it. Even better, a partial waning moon would illuminate the composition beginning at 3 am that evening. And clear skies were in the forecast.

A 3:00 am alarm and 10 minute drive had me at the designated pull out at 3:15 am. There was a strong wind blowing and I positioned my truck at an angle to block some of it as I could place the tripod right up against the truck. My Tacoma has helped me a number of times in this regard. Once all set up, exposures started at 3:34 am and continued until 5:51 am when I pulled the plug as the stars were fading into dawn.

About the Star Trails Images

I first dived into Star Trails photography during a trip to the White Mountains of California during the Perseids meteor shower of August, 2012. A small group of us, having taught photography workshops in the Whites, had the unique opportunity to stay at the Crooked Creek White Mountain Research Center at an elevation of 10,100 feet. Despite some initial failures, it only took a couple nights of photographing to get hooked.

Star Trails images are exposed in 20-30 second intervals in succession for 160 to 500+ exposures which equates to 2 to 6 hours of exposure. Images are uniformly processed in Adobe Lightroom and then stacked in Star Stax. Once stacked, I spend hours meticulously spotting noise and nighttime objects out of the image in order to create a final Pigment Ink Prints of exceptionally quality and longevity. Prints are available in limited edition at very reasonable valuations. I've also provided an extensive tutorial for anyone interested in trying Star Trails photography for themselves.

Star Trails over Zion's Angel's Landing

Star Trails over Zion's Angel's Landing

Zion National Park — 2012

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