Mono Lake, Sierra Nevada, California, October 12th, 2015

Behind the scenes of this photo

Taken at Mono Lake, Sierra Nevada, California, October 12th, 2015

Mono Lake is one of my absolute favorite places for stargazing and astrophotography.

For starters, there’s very little light pollution in the area and on a moonless night the skies are extraordinarily dark. Second, Mono Lake sits at 7,000 feet, high in the arid semi-desert, which means elevated atmospheric clarity. And third, there are all these wonderful tufa formations stretching up toward the sky. With the brilliance of the stars and the vertical reach of the tufa it often seems like the Earth and the sky are within touching distance.

About this photo specifically, this is a composition I had scouted in October a few years ago but hadn’t had the opportunity to shoot since then. But my recent move to Mammoth gave me all the proximity to Mono Lake I could ask for and when the forecast showed a clear night sky a few weeks back I took the chance to make this image. The orange glow on the horizon is from some haze in the air catching the very very faint light of deep twilight, and the green in the sky is an atmospheric phenomenon called airglow.

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