After returning from the Nebraska Sky Party event in Valentine, Nebraska for Nebraska Life Magazine I found myself interested in night sky photography. Full of optimism for a new medium in photography, I set out on one of the worst nights imaginable to make an image of the night sky over Scottsbluff and Gering.
The event in Valentine was riddled with smoke from wildfires burning in Montana, California, and Canada creating an almost impenetrable haze.
In Scotts Bluff County the air was a little clearer but beginning to cloud over as light rain showers dotted the Nebraska Panhandle.
Realizing I had very little chance of making the image I had envisioned in my mind I set out to capture the landscape and as much of the night sky as I could.
I stopped along the Old Oregon Trail Highway on the westside of Scotts Bluff National Monument and made my way about 50 feet from the surface of the road where I set up my old green tripod which I’ve owned for about twenty years.
The wind from a passing storm kicked up the dust and rattled the foliage just as I began to make this exposure as a small fleet of cars began to pass. I opened the shutter again as they approached using a shutter speed of about 20 seconds.
The lights of the passing cars illuminated the side of Independence and Eagle rocks adding a unique and dramatic essence to the image as the lights from Scottsbluff and Gering lit the eastern sky.