Ever since I saw the first photographs of the Bristlecone Pine forests in the White Mountains I knew that I wanted to make an image at night with the stars. The trip from this past weekend was another attempt and I got closer to getting the image I wanted, but still not quite there.
My friend Greg and I went up and hung out by this striking pine well before sunset. Though we wanted to do some nighttime shooting, we still ended up making a lot of frames while the sun was setting (those images coming soon). My goal was to make an image with the milky way in full view and so I hauled my Astrotrac. Unfortunately, due to the exceptionally bright moon and recent fresh snow fall the ambient light level was too high for a galaxy image and my Astrotrac flaking out was the final nail in that coffin, so I had to settle for some star trails.
This image took quite a while to process mainly because I had some small registration errors in the 3 separate captures. In addition, I wanted something that would print very cleanly even at large sizes and so ended up having to do a lot of chromatic aberration cleanup by hand. In all the post processing took about 6 hours to do (including some tonal work to get rid of hot spots). However, looking at the 24x36 print that now hangs in my office, it was worth the effort.