This photo was six years in the making. I first found this meadow, high in Wyoming's Big Horn Mountains, in July of 2014. I was struck by the multitude of wildflowers that covered nearly every inch of open ground, amazed by the hundreds of butterflies and bees working to pollinate them during this country's shortest season. I spent the better part of an afternoon there, sitting in the most beautiful and peaceful place I've seen in the Rockies.
A year later, when I began taking astro-landscapes, I returned the the Big Horns and this meadow, thrilled to see it faced the proper direction to show it at night under the rising Milky Way. My shooting technique that year was on par with any beginning photographer, and while the result was encouraging it certainly didn't do any justice to what I saw in my mind.
For five years, cloudy nights, too large a moon, or a schedule that didn't permit me hitting the wildflower bloom just right prevented me from taking another shot at this photograph. I spent plenty of time in the Big Horns, photographing plenty of wildflowers, deciding this meadow is exactly where I wish my ashes to be scattered some day, but was unable to capture the scene I knew I wanted to share.
In mid-July of this year, during a young moon phase and clear skies, I finally had an opportunity to spend a night at this location. I needed a windless window to capture imagine after image at different focal points, the foreground lit by four small headlamps whose lenses I covered with wax paper and hung in trees behind me. I used Nikon's superb 70-200mm f4 lens at 70mm, optimistic that the conditions were perfect for a potentially once-in-a-lifetime picture with the Milky Way, Jupiter, and Saturn all showing beyond a curtain of fir and spruce.
Like all my astro work, there is nothing in the this photograph out of place. Nothing has been imported, "drawn" in, or pasted out of position. It requires patience, editing, and more than a modicum of luck in terms of conditions, but the end result this time is the best image I've ever taken. In my opinion, this is the perfect combination of terrestrial and celestial beauty, something not likely to be seen ever again.
This is offered as a limited-edition print, done on archival metallic paper, the best in the world for showing a true nighttime effect. Each print comes signed and numbered by myself with a 1/8" white border all the way around for ease of framing.