I love Pagosa Springs, and on one visit in December, 2011 I decided to try taking photos of the night sky. I rented a 24mm f/1.4 lens and went out late one night to see the stars and capture the sky. This was the first time I had taken night photos, so I learned a lot of valuable lessons on this trip. The biggest: finding a shot at night is much harder than finding one during the day.
My usual approach to taking photos is to look for good settings, light, and color and then find a good composition to capture them. This doesn’t really work at night when it’s dark and you can’t see anything. Good night shots are usually taken on a moonless night, so all you have are the stars and whatever lights you bring with you. I often couldn’t see beyond my own headlights, and it was impossible to know what was in the photo beyond what was right in front of me.
Fortunately, I found several great subjects on this trip, including several others I will repost in the future. Lessons learned:
- Look for good subjects in the day time and use tools like PhotoPills or the Photographers Ephemeris to plan out how they’ll look at different times of the night.
- Bring warmer clothing.
- It’s pitch dark, and that noise you heard in the bush next to you is probably nothing to worry about. Probably…
(I originally published this photo in 2013.)