No matter your religion, beliefs, or experiences, the vastness of the Universe is enough to amaze and humble most anyone.
Did you know that everything you can see in the night sky with your naked eye is only in our own galaxy? It makes it hard to imagine exactly how big everything really is. The more you think about it the more you realize that you can't even begin to understand it.
"Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is one of 50 or 100 billion other galaxies in the universe. And with every step, every window that modern astrophysics has opened to our mind, the person who wants to feel like they're the center of everything ends up shrinking." - Neil DeGrasse Tyson
When it comes to consciousness, perception is reality. We can only perceive what we see and experience and that is further narrowed to what our mind makes of it all.
Most of us spend the majority of our life looking at our world in the daylight. We only see the world in one light.
A large percentage of people don't travel very far. I know people who have never left their country, state, or even their home city! While we aren't the most traveled ourselves, we understand the importance. The more we travel and experience the more exciting and enriched our short insignificant lives get! It is nature's forced perspective.
“The more you know, the more you know you don't know.”― Aristotle
Experiencing the world at night not only allows you to see the vastness of our universe but shows a whole other side of our own planet. There is no warmth of the sun. The little bit of light that is available has a different quality to it. Your sense of sight is limited so your other senses become heightened. Different wildlife and creatures are awake. For the most part it is much more peaceful and quiet. The sense of solitude that is created is sometimes overwhelming.
On our recent trip to Bryce Canyon we were lucky enough to have been linked up with interpretive park ranger, fellow photo geek, and all around awesome guy Keith Moore. (Check him out here!) We decided on a night and place to meet up. We arrived at the Fairyland trail at midnight and hiked about a mile in. We hung out for a little over an hour chatting about life the universe and everything (the answer is still 42) and watched the milky way dance across the southern sky.
We hiked out and drove over to Sunset point. As we were walking up to the trailhead we spotted two eyes with our headlamps. When we got closer we could tall that it was a Ringtail! A decently rare sighting since they are nocturnal! The trail took us down by Thors Hammer where it offered us some great views. We finally called it quits at about 3am.
The image above was actually taken looking North. Most all of your Milky Way photos are facing East or South or somewhere between. Bryce Canyon is such a dark place that the tail end in the North actually shows quite well. While that is pretty dark it's not dark enough! Bryce Canyon is not a International Dark Sky Park. The surrounding towns of Bryce, Tropic, and Canyonville all add a lot of light pollution. To learn more about dark skies, where to find them, and what you can do to help preserve them visit http://darksky.org/
Our trip to Bryce created inspiration for some great Astrophotography shots but we also wanted to share some of our other shots from other dark places!
Just outside of Portland Oregon up the Columbia River Gorge is Crown Point. It's just far enough away where the city light pollution starts to fall off. We were lucky enough to get the Milky Way and the Aurora Borealis in the same night here!
Milky way over Mt. St. Helens in Washington
Star trails over Monument Valley AZ/UT
Some light painting fun up at Mt Hood, OR
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