The Milky Way Arching over the Teton Mountains

Dark, dark, dark sky! 1024 megapixels of stars and Tetons. 

Dark, dark, dark sky! 1024 megapixels of stars and Tetons. 

I had a secondary mission in mind on the day my friend and I ascended Table Mountain in Wyoming to witness the 2017 total eclipse over the Grand Teton mountains. After the event, after everyone had packed up left, we remained in the area to rest and take in the spectacular views of the area. When evening arrived, we hiked a little bit closer in towards the massive dropoff between our position and where the Grand Teton mountains rise straight up from the creek below. 

View of the Grand Teton Mountains from the top of Table Mountain near Alta, Wyoming. We hiked down below to just beyond that snow field. 

View of the Grand Teton Mountains from the top of Table Mountain near Alta, Wyoming. We hiked down below to just beyond that snow field. 

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We remained at the precipice through sunset and waited for the night sky. Prior to the hike, I used planning software to predict the position of the Milky Way Galaxy. That night was a confluence of events: the moon was down, city lights were far off and the galaxy spanned the sky from left to right over the mountains. Perfect. 

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I mounted my camera to the Gigapan Pro V, programmed in the starting and ending positions, the focal length of the Sigma Art 1.4 lens, set the exposure to 8 seconds and captured over 100 images from left to right. I then reprogrammed the Gigapan to reshoot just the lower portion of the scene at two times brighter so I would have detail in the dark areas of the scene. 

The next day, after freezing the entire night and not sleeping one bit, I warmed up to the rising sun. The hike down was pretty amazing, too. We rewarded our efforts by dipping our feet in the cold stream at the parking lot followed up with a delicious burger in Driggs, Idaho. Then it was off to Seattle to process the photos. 

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Back at home, after hours of processing to combine the photos into one large image, I have it ready now for printing onto acrylic. 

Behind the photoSean Hoyt