Orion & The Mittens - Monument Valley Tribal Park, Arizona
Nikon D5, 24-70mm f/2.8
The theme for this trip was night photography. A challenge for shooting star trails is the moon, which was about 25% illuminated. The best way to eliminate the moon problem is shoot after it sets. This night, that was about midnight. Since I planned to do star trail photography at about two the morning, I knew I needed to get to bed early which didn’t leave many options for post sunset photography. Since I had shot the sunset in Monument Valley many times, I figured I wasn’t missing much by not shooting the sunset. Which brings up a great discussion point; visit new places or re-imagine old places. That’ll be a topic down the road.
Even though I was getting to bed early, I could still get early evening night photography that didn’t include star trails and still get to bed at a reasonable hour. That’s what I did here.
Through the magic of my iPhone and its apps, I figured out Orion would rise right over Merrick Butte about an hour after sunset. This worked out beautifully because it gave me time to get dinner, let the sky get darker allowing the stars become very clear, and for Orion to rise above the horizon. The moon light was just enough to reveal some detail to the buttes yet not so much that it washed out the night sky. Overall, this was my favorite image from the whole trip.