Celestial Encirclement of Niut Mountain

I’m home for a few days and I am supposed to be writing my August Newsletter before I leave again, but I just couldn’t resist making this one blog post to share with you.

I just returned from a 4 day shoot in the Niut Range which is part of the Coast Mountains west of Tatlayoko Lake in the Chilcotin region of BC.  I had never been there before. Why I don’t know, for it is absolutely stunning. On this trip, Rita’s daughter Teresa, who is studying photography at Langara College, joined us. Fortunately on our last evening the skies cleared, and I had the opportunity to share with Teresa the possibilities of photographing the night sky.

We set up our compositions before dark, and then went to bed for a nap with alarm clocks set for midnight. Up we got; we were amazed at the number and clarity of the stars. I immediately noticed the Big Dipper above 2918m (9573 ft.) Niut Mountain. Yeah, I exclaimed to Teresa, that means we can include the North Star and capture star trail circles above the towering peaks.

With head lamps on, we made our final camera setting adjustments. Click….

Then it was back to bed for another nap. Over two hours later I got up to shut off my exposure. The image you see below was a 140 minute exposure.

5DE8209-0814-ouAfter completing my exposure I checked the result and was thrilled by what I saw on my LCD screen.

Teresa had finished her exposure earlier as her last battery expired. I was now alone. I was so excited with my good fortune of having a clear night that I was full of energy. It was warm out and there were no mosquitoes. I just wanted to stay up all night. I was standing in the base of a mighty ‘cirque’ surrounded by silhouetted peaks and a garden of celestial stars. I was filled with the richness of life.

Eventually, I knew I had to go to bed if I was going to hike and photograph the next day. But wait a minute….I noticed something happening to the mountain tops. They seemed brighter. What was happening? Eventually I figured out that light from a still hidden rising half-moon was beginning to hit the highest peaks. That was it…back to my camera!

The image below was about a 20 minute exposure, just long enough for you to see a few of the moon lit Niut peaks. This is a small 500px image, but if you look closely at the peaks in the centre, you will notice that they are lit, showing details of the rock.

5DE8210-0814-ou

Wow…..what a way to end a four day photographic expedition to the Niut Range. Enjoy!