I tripped over a big rock!–and ended up seeing lots of stars!

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The .5 liter water bottle is provided for an idea of size of
the rock I overlooked.

On our first night at Arches National Park, I was so excited with a photo that I had taken that I went into to show Karen, then went back out to try to get more – and tripped over a big rock that was in plain view even though it was dark since we had the outside light on.

I’m a bit too old to go tumbling like that.  Fortunately, except for a gravel nick on the arm and a leg that was a little sore after hiking for the next couple of days, I wasn’t hurt.  I was a bit afraid for my camera as it hit the ground pretty hard, too. Fortunately, it’s pretty tough and came through unscathed, though the lens did gain a a few scratches.

So what was I taking pictures of that had me so excited that I didn’t watch where I was going?

Stars, of course.

Now, I’ve seen a lot pictures that others have taken of the night sky, but I’ve never been successful, not that I’ve tried in a long time.  The following photo is the best of the bunch that I took at Arches.  It was taken at 9:26 p.m.,  a couple of hours after sunset.

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There was little or light pollution to mask the stars.  It is a sight that many of us seldom, if ever, have the opportunity of seeing these days.

The area just above the hill that looks a little smoky or, perhaps, milky is our galaxy, the Milky Way.

The exposure time for the photo was about 60 seconds.  Towards the end of the exposure, I used a large flashlight to “paint” the hill with light so that it would show up in the image.  The hill is actually a huge rock, one of many in the campground area we were in.

Below: Part of our campsite, with  a Scrabble game set up, a portable speaker unit for IPOD, and my Kindle on the table.

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