Sometimes you find a great photo you didn’t expect in a wonderful location. While visiting family in Pagosa Springs in 2015, I had an idea to take sunset photos on Piedra Road north of town. On one evening in particular, I raced out after the conclusion of a family event and arrived just in time to see the sun had already set. Despite the missed opportunity, I was able to capture a different kind of beauty – an ethereal blue hour shot.
Whenever I visit my family in Colorado, I always look forward to taking night photos. On the same trip where I took my Snowball Road photo in 2011, I also took a drive down nearby Piedra Road to see if I could find any good shots. I discovered this wonderful little barn on that road (it’s almost a shed), and it’s been a go-to source of photos for me for many trips since.
Taking astrophotos can be a challenge – you need to be in the right place (dark skies) at the right time (little moonlight) with the right weather (no clouds) at the right time of year (the Milky Way is only visible in the warmer months of the Northern Hemisphere). Fortunately, all of this worked in my favor on my backpacking trip to Quartz Lake in August, letting me take a truly dream come true photo of Mars and the Milky Way together in the night sky. There was a reason I lugged all of my heavy camera gear up and over a mountain pass, and this was it.