|The Seven Sisters Gaze into the Universe|
|Taken at Valley of Fire and processed with Lightroom|
|Mojave Desert is about 1.5 hours from Las Vegas|
|3 images stitched using Autopano Giga in Mojave Desert|
|A raw image right from the camera, airplane trails on every image|
Some final thoughts I'd like to part with to help you do something similar.
1. pack warm clothes especially gloves, you will be standing out in the darkness with the wind blowing on you!
2. Divide the focal length by 500 to figure out how long to keep shutter open, so in my case shooting wide at 14mm / 500 gives me 30 seconds. you can apply this formula to anything, reason being you dont want star trails, anything longer than this and the dots in your pictures end up looking like airplane trails
3. obviously use a tripod if its windy lower the leg extensions, lower the center of gravity will make it more stable or hang your bag from it, you don't want camera shake, this will ruin your shot.
4. experiment with the iso but 5000 seems to be a sweet spot for a dark scene if you have light pollution from a city and its in the picture, and I'm referring to that yellow glow on the horizon than shoot at 3200 iso
5. use a remote to trigger the shutter or self timer, in my case i put my Nikon d800 on mirror up mode and fired away.
6. use red lights, whatever you do avoid using a white flashlight. you are eyes will get used to the darkness and your photon receptors become finely attuned to the darkness around you, takes about 30min at which point you'd be surprised how much you can see on a moonless night under the stars. Red light has ZERO effect on how you see but the moment you flash that bright white light to look at something, your receptors freak out. its like someone turning on the lamp while you were fast sleep, it almost hurts. I used a RED LED bikers light thingy which clips onto anything, I highly recommend this.
7. keep a good flashlight with you or head lamp to help you walk or hike a path int he darkness to your location, once you find you spot don't use it anymore, go red!
8. Remember how to get back to you car! waling out into the desert, between canyons and rocks in total darkness can be very dangerous if you can't find you car. I used my iphone's GPS to spot mark location of my car.
8. Try and find cool architecture or rock formations to put in the foreground of your camera, dont just shoot into the sky but instead explore and look around you, what can you add, dark silhouettes can add drama and convey thoughts this is easier said than done and its something I work on all the time.
9. and finally share your pictures! let everyone see the magic of the universe.