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NATIONAL PARKS

HALEAKALA 2019

In March 2019 I had the amazing experience of working for 29 days at Haleakala National Park as the artist-in-residence. Thanks to the National Park Arts Foundation for the tremendous work in setting the residency up. And to Haleakala Ranger Honeygirl Duman for all the great guidance, information and Hawaiian lore.

The sacred landscape spans from the Kipahulu section at sea level to the summit of the volcano at 10,023 feet. I spent much of the time living in park housing at 7,000 feet. The simple apartment had a view of the mountain from the front door. For 3 ½ days I hiked into the crater of the mountain and stayed at the Holua ranger cabin. Two separate short trips during the month took me to Kipahulu on the coast.

The night sky from Haleakala is nothing short of stunning. The high-altitude locations often are above the cloud level. At a latitude of 20 degrees north of the equator many more southernly stars and objects could be seen than from much of the continental U.S.

Lava and many endemic species dominate the environment. Especially interesting was the ‘ahinahina or silversword plant which lives only in Haleakala. The sacred areas tell stories of the earth and sky, made more apparent during my night shooting sessions.

Mahalo!

‘Ahinahina plant lit by an almost first quarter moon inside the crater.
‘Ahinahina plant in the crater.
Zodiacal light on the left and Milky Way on the right seen over the lights of Maui.
Constellation Orion, the stars Sirius and Canopus above the summit.
An orange moon and Venus rise over the Pacific Ocean with the Milky Way.
Annotated version of the moon/Venus rising.
A rising Milky Way behind PanSTARRS (left) and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (right) at the Haleakala Observatories.
Full moon rising in the shadow of the volcano projected onto Earth’s atmosphere by the setting sun.
‘A’a lava formations inside the crater.
Sun halo at the summit.
Star trails over the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope.
Moonlit plants and lava in the crater.
Pilo shrub, Big Dipper, Polaris.
Pukiawe plant and Orion group.
Coconut tree and stars.
 

FIVE STATES 2018-NATURE

The ever changing sky and landscape from Rocky Mountain, Arches National Parks, Monument Valley and Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. From the 2018 trip through five states in the west.

 

FIVE STATES 2018

From early September to mid-October I traveled through five western states: Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico doing a combination of night sky photography, workshops and photographing the sky and landscapes. The trip took me through four national parks, one state park, one tribal park, a dark sky city and finally U.S. forest land. In many places there were photographs to be taken from early morning, late afternoon and into the night. I met my friend Rush in Yellowstone where we saw amazing wildlife as well as landscapes. We camped for a week, then headed south, ending up in Flagstaff. Then continued on to Albuquerque and central New Mexico for more sights. Here is a selection of the night sky photos.

YMCA cabin, Estes Park, CO

Student, Alpine Tundra, Rocky Mountain National Park

Pine branches, Sprague Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Moon set, Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park

Mushroom rocks, Alpine Tundra, Rocky Mountain National Park

Big Dipper 1, Colter Bay, Grand Teton National Park

Big Dipper 2, Colter Bay, Grand Teton National Park

Big Dipper 3, String Lake, Grand Teton National Park

Firehole Lake, Yellowstone National Park

Artesia Geyser 1, Yellowstone National Park

Artesia Geyser 2, Yellowstone National Park

Artesia Geyser 3, Yellowstone National Park

Artesia Geyser 4, Yellowstone National Park

Excelsior Geyser 1, Yellowstone National Park

Excelsior Geyser 2, red automobile taillights, Yellowstone National Park

Excelsior Geyser, moonrise, Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Mars, Milky Way, Arches National Park

Juniper branch, Orion, Arches National Park

Enchanted Skies Star Party, Magdalena

Green airglow, Magdalena

Zodiacal light, Milky Way, Magdalena

Crescent moon, Very Large Array, NM. This image was Astronomy Picture of the Day, Nov. 10, 2018 (Click APOD )

 

WHITE SANDS-BIG BEND 2018

White Sands-Big Bend 2018

Fellow Amateur Astronomers Association of New York members accompanied Rush and I on a trip to White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico and Big Bend National Park in west Texas in March. We were eight in all including Ken from the Astronomical Society of Long Island, Preston, Linda, Chirag, Antoine and Gowri. A night backcountry camping in White Sands was an incredible experience, after two nights at a camp outside of Alamagordo. Five nights were spent in the Chisos Basin campground in Big Bend, under a very dark sky. Late night sessions followed by pre-dawn sessions led to little sleep but good pictures.

At the Alamogordo campsite, Preston’s van is filled with stars.

Preston and Chirag photograph the southwest sky from our campsite near Alamagordo.

White Sands: A cloud illuminated by nearby Alamagordo looks like a sand storm approaching the star Sirius and constellation Orion.

White Sands: Wispy clouds above the campsite.

White Sands: Our group at work as the sky clears.

White Sands: A small plant takes root in the dune.

Big Bend: First twilight at the campsite, a crescent moon, Venus and Mercury set above the Widow. This was the Astronomy Picture of the Day for March 31, 2018.

Big Bend: A crescent moon sets, Zodiacal light reaches up from the horizon. The Milky Way arches across.

Big Bend: Myself, Chirag and Preston pose in the pre-dawn hours as the Milky Way rises over Casa Grande.

Big Bend: An early morning Milky Way over Casa Grande.

Big Bend: It’s full of stars!

Big Bend: Morning twilight approaches.

Big Bend: Mexican drooping Juniper and the Milky Way, Sagittarius and Scorpius. The three brightest orbs are Saturn, Mars and Jupiter.

 

 

 

Big Bend: Mexican drooping Juniper and the Summer Triangle of stars.

Big Bend: Big and Little Dippers.

Big Bend: Cactus and the Big and Little Dippers.

Big Bend: Cactus and the southern sky.

Big Bend: Preston, Chirag and Antoine photograph the twilight and moon from Ernst Tinaja.

Big Bend: The International Space Station streaks past Orion and the moon in this two minute exposure.

Big Bend: An “Earthshine” moonset over a ridge. The lit crescent has almost dipped below the mountain.

 

 

YELLOWSTONE

I met my friend Rush Dudley at Yellowstone National Park in September 2014 for a week of camping and touring the park. The most incredible sights were seen everyday. It seemed that every way we looked there was a picture, day or night. Some nights were clear enough for sky photos, one evening we were treated to a lightning show that’s almost impossible to reproduce.

Fur trapper Joe Meck wrote in 1829 upon seeing the wilderness that became Yellowstone:

“Behold! The whole country beyond was smoking with the vapor from boiling springs, and burning gasses, issuing from small craters, each of which was emitting a sharp whistling sound.”

That’s just about what it was like.

 

Storm over Great Fountain Geyser

Storm over Great Fountain Geyser

Grand Prismatic Spring with northern Milky Way.

Grand Prismatic Spring with northern Milky Way.

Southern Milky Way at Midway Geyser Basin

Southern Milky Way at Midway Geyser Basin

Storm, stars, Great Fountain Geyser

Storm, stars, Great Fountain Geyser

Artist Point, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Artist Point, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Artist Point, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Artist Point, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Crescent moon at Great Fountain Geyser

Crescent moon at Great Fountain Geyser

Storm at Great Fountain Geyser

Storm at Great Fountain Geyser

Lightning at Great Fountain Geyser

Lightning at Great Fountain Geyser

 

 

CHACO DARK SKY PARK-2014

Here’s Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwestern New Mexico when it was dedicated as an International Dark Sky Park (Gold Tier) by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) on April 24! It was a beautiful day as the ceremony unfolded behind the Visitor Center against the backdrop of Fajada Butte and the vast mesas surrounding the canyon. Then the activities switched to inside the center as cake was served, t-shirts were sold by Friends of Chaco and Tyler Nordgren of the University of Redlands signed books. An evening talk by Tyler was followed by a night of stargazing by The Albuquerque Astronomical Society under a very dark sky. Among the many park service people with amazing jobs, I met Nate Ament, who is the Colorado Plateau Dark Skies Cooperative Coordinator of the National Park Service- what a great job! Thanks to rangers Jim Von Haden and Katie Earp for writing the application for the Chaco Dark Sky status to the IDA, and for using 2 of my photos in the report. To see more about the designation: http://darksky.org/night-sky-conservation/338    (Click on pictures to enlarge)

 

ROCKY MOUNTAIN

ROCKY MOUNTAIN

The night sky at Rocky Mountain National Park from work done as artist-in-residence during a two-week program in July-August 2013. Incredible views (when the clouds cleared) were seen from Moraine Park, Sprague and Bear Lakes and the Trail Ridge Road. The mountains, lakes and the tall pine trees made magnificent subjects while the stars shone brighter than I’ve ever seen. Each night the Milky Way arched overhead in an amazing display of light.
Thanks to artist coordinator Ranger Jean Muenchrath for giving me the good news and arranging everything, volunteers Betsy and Roger Leverton for the great help during the two evening lectures, and to Dark Sky Ranger Cynthia Langguth. Plus all the staff and volunteers at Rocky for making the stay at the William Allen White Cabin a memorable one.

Milky Way, pines, Bear Lake

Milky Way, pines, Bear Lake

Storm clears, Sprague Lake

Storm clears, Sprague Lake

Upper Beaver Meadows trail head

Upper Beaver Meadows trail head

Star trails, Trail Ridge Road

Star trails, Trail Ridge Road

Big Dipper, Trail Ridge Road

Big Dipper, Trail Ridge Road

Milky Way, Bear Lake

Milky Way, Bear Lake

Star trails, Bear Lake

Star trails, Bear Lake

Moonlight, Sprague Lake

Moonlight, Sprague Lake

Big Dipper, Sprague Lake

Big Dipper, Sprague Lake

International Space Station streaks over Moraine Park

International Space Station streaks over Moraine Park

Meteor, Andromeda Galaxy

Meteor, Andromeda Galaxy

Astronomy in the Park, Upper Beaver Meadows trail head

Astronomy in the Park, Upper Beaver Meadows trail head

 

 

 

 

WUPATKI

WUPATKI

I had the privilege of being artist-in-residence at Wupatki National Monument in northern Arizona in May 2013. My stay of almost two weeks came with an amazing view of the Painted Desert. After the sun set an incredible dark sky was in view almost every night. The preserved pueblo structures were impressive in their workmanship after standing for over 800 years in the desert. No written records exist so we don’t know why these people settled in this area. The waxing moon provided a soft light for the pueblos and the landscape as I photographed them with the celestial dome as a background. Thanks to Ranger Holly Richards, Rene Westbrook- Grand Canyon South Rim AiR coordinator and Flagstaff artist Bruce Aiken for making the residency possible. 

Milky Way, Wukoki pueblo

Milky Way, Wukoki pueblo

Clouds, Wukoki pueblo

Clouds, Wukoki pueblo

Milky Way, Lomaki pueblo

Milky Way, Lomaki pueblo

Star trails, Lomaki pueblo

Star trails, Lomaki pueblo

Moon light, Lomaki pueblo

Moon light, Lomaki pueblo

Moon, Lomaki pueblo

Moon, Lomaki pueblo

Moon set, Wupatki Pueblo

Moon set, Wupatki Pueblo

Big Dipper, Wupatki pueblo

Big Dipper, Wupatki pueblo

Jupiter-Venus-Mercury, Wupatki Pueblo

Jupiter-Venus-Mercury, Wupatki Pueblo

Milky Way center

Milky Way center

Moon rise, Wukoki Pueblo

Moon rise, Wukoki Pueblo

Sunset, Wupatki Pueblo

Sunset, Wupatki Pueblo

Sunset, Wupatki Pueblo

Sunset, Wupatki Pueblo

 

 

PETRIFIED FOREST

THE PETRIFIED FOREST

I spent two weeks in October/November 2011 as Artist-in-Residence at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona photographing the night sky and the incredible geological formations in the park. This residency came immediately after the week at the Grand Canyon and was equally inspiring. Thanks to Chief of Resource Management Pat Thompson for her help, to the rangers at the entrance station and in the field, and to the staff at the visitor center for their guidance. 

Moon sets over Battleship Rock

Moon sets over Battleship Rock

Star trails, Crystal Forest

Star trails, Crystal Forest

Crescent moon near the Tepees

Crescent moon near the Tepees

After Rothko

After Rothko

Long Logs

Long Logs

Blue Mesa

Blue Mesa

Bentonite hills, Long Logs

Bentonite hills, Long Logs

Blue Mesa

Blue Mesa

Crystal Forest

Crystal Forest

Crystal Forest

Crystal Forest

Rush Dudley observing at Pintado Point

Rush Dudley observing at Pintado Point

Painted Desert Inn

Painted Desert Inn