Back-to-back clear nights allowed enough time to complete this shot at Pine Creek Lake, in Montana's Absaroka Beartooth Mountain Range. A year earlier to the day, when I made this trek last summer, the lake was entirely frozen over, and I wondered what I'd find for ice this year. Fortunately, I timed things just right, watching most the remaining ice sheet melt during the first day I spent on the shores of this beautiful, alpine lake.
I used a 70-200mm Nikon f4 lens, shooting wide open at 70mm for the more than 90 photos needed to stitch this panorama together. On the first night, I was able to capture about half of the span or our galaxy before it rose too high into the night sky, finishing up the following night. It's rare to have two clear nights in the mountains this time of year where weather is unpredictable and even a small bank of clouds can foul a shoot.
This is one of my best astro photographs, showcasing gorgeous teal and green airglow with as pretty a terrestrial scene as you'll find in the West. It's offered as a limited edition in both paper and on aluminum at three sizes with a print run of 25 images per size and as a giant, 40x60 piece of aluminum art.