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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. ...

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I just learned that my photo, Buffalo Jump Into Eternity, has won the best in show award in Fusion Art's 2nd Annual International Skies Competition in their digital and photographic category. This is one of my favorite pictures, which makes the news even sweeter.  People often ask me if these Milky Way photos are "fake." The simple, truthful answer is, "Not at all." I use a 35mm lens on my Nikon camera, mounted on a motorized, equatorial mount which, when properly aligned, moves at the same rate our Earth spins in relation to the stars. This allows me to capture...

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We stand suddenly on the cusp of summer in these handful of days when there will be no greater daylight this year. Characteristic of all North Country climes, we have arrived here in a blur of see-saw skirmishes between the seasons of spring and something that is not spring, waking now to mornings noticeably less noisy, the urgency to sing in search of a mate gone from songbirds who’ve seen their nests empty. The apple trees and lilacs have bloomed – and while I did take notice of their fragrance, filling wet days when puddles exploded with alternating drops of...

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I’m sitting on the 45th Parallel, exactly halfway between the equator and North Pole, on the day that is precisely equal parts light and darkness. It’s 3:20am, seasonably cold here in Montana, and over the gentle whisper of the Yellowstone River’s flow, a river not yet receiving any mountain snow melt, I just heard a great horned owl call. From the very edge of earshot, its mate replies and I smile, imagining them checking in with each other during a night of hunting. “All’s well in my search for voles, and I simply wanted to hear your voice.” In front...

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A few nights ago, as store heaters clicked on behind locked doors, and the climate-controlled cabs of passing cars displayed their temperatures in precise, digital readouts, a woman froze to death in Billings, Montana. Less than three weeks earlier, it was a man. He lay down on a sidewalk, pulled a satiny sleeping bag - the kind I might use on a summer night when my only care is wondering if clouds will roll in and ruin a star trails picture - up over his head, and shivered until he died. It's been a hell of a winter in Montana, and...

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