Astro photography Nikon Z9 Photography

Dark Skies at Galena Summit

With the New Moon for March upon us, I decided to head up to the Galena Summit and attempt to capture some Dark Skies images of the Sawtooth and Wood River Valley’s.

I am exceptionally fortunate because my home is in the heart the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve. It was Americas first Reserve as recognized by the Internal Dark Sky Association.  There are 12 reserves with such designation worldwide. At 1,416 square miles it is the 3rd largest in the world.

The weather report was not very promising, as cloud cover was to be material until about 3AM and mostly clear between 3-5AM.

I decided to attempt to be on the Summit at 4AM.  Here are two images I captured.

The Wood River Valley from Galena Summit – New Moon Dark skies.

The Sawtooth River Valley from Galena Summit – New Moon Dark skies

— Jeff’s Worthless Trivia and Other Thoughts — 

In the Boulders photo, a hint of artificial light appears in the trees near the valley floor below Galena Peak. I think it might be the lights from the snow grooming equipment. The bright star in the upper left center of the image is Altair in the Aquila constellation. The bright star in the lower right center of the image is Antares in the Scorpius constellation. Scorpius in Latin means Scorpion. Scorpius in Hawaiian culture is known as the demigod Maui’s Fishhook. There is a shooting star visible in the lower center of the image.

In the Sawtooth photo, there is visible light in the lower center left of the image. I think it is from the Snow Plow for the Idaho Department of Transportation that parks out at Frenchmen’s Creek. The two bright stars in the lower center of the image are Pollux and Alpha Geminorum (the two heads) in the Gemini constellation. Gemini in Latin means Twins. Moving to the left, all the stars that comprise the constellation Cancer are visible. Above them, all the stars of the constellation Leo are visible. To the right side of the image all the stars of the constellation Cassiopeia are visible.

From a technical perspective… Camera: Nikon Z9,  Lens: Nikon Z 20MM f 1.8  Both images were shot with 15 seconds of exposure at F2.2 and ISO 6400.

To be honest, I had another reason for attempting to capture these images.  I wanted to be at a favorite place of mine, such that I could say a prayer for someone. My friend since childhood, Mark Wickard, recently experienced a heart-attack that was material in nature.  While the road to recovery will be highly challenging,  Mark has a remarkable level of fight in him, a close-knit family, and the support of friends that if strung together would likely stretch across America. If you are so inclined, say a Prayer for Mark Wickard.  If you are not religious in nature, please extend Best Wishes to someone who is so richly deserving.

4 Replies to “Dark Skies at Galena Summit

  1. Thanks Jeff for the background info on this fabulous picture of the sky and beyond. May your friends spirit rise above all that he is going through and prevail over this illness.

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