Yesterday, as Montana's afternoon came with the instinctual realization that there isn't quite the level of light in our sky as there was three weeks ago, I hiked over five miles to a remote, alpine lake to watch the world spin into darkness and photograph a piece of our home galaxy there. On the shores of the lake, with a beautiful view of a thousand-foot rock face, I sat alone as the sun fell out of sight, its rays inching up the mountain in front of me until, with a final gleam of gold at its summit, they were gone.
I built a small fire near the obsidian shards of prehistoric hunters who had doubtlessly looked up into the same sky I'd come to view. I waited, swatting the occasional mosquito, straining to hear the final calls of birds bidding the day goodbye, watching the stars appear in a sky that drifted from the color of brushed aluminum to a velvety black.
I took the photos I'd come for between 11:30pm and 12:30am, then loaded more than 50 pounds of gear onto my back and, with the aid of a headlamp and random songs played from my phone, walked through the wilderness back to my truck.
It's Milky Way season out here in Montana - that time of year when the core of our galaxy is visible over the southern horizon for a few hours immediately after complete darkness. I've been photographing it from one end of this state to the other, showing life here contrasted against a sky where it's hard to imagine that there isn't life somewhere. I hope that you enjoy these images, all available on my site, and that while looking at them you feel some of the wonder that I do.