I was in the ghost town of Bodie, California, and I had been waiting for hours for the Milky Way to get in exactly the right position over this old barn. I wanted to see if I could get an image with the Milky Way matching the slope of the barn’s roof.
Making a shot like this is tricky. At this time of night, and especially in this town, it is pitch black. The good news about modern cameras is that they can almost see in the dark. Boost the ISO high enough and keep the shutter open long enough, and you can go on a SEAL special ops mission. For the Milky Way the shutter stays open for 30 seconds.
After the Milky Way was right where I had hoped it would be, I made about twenty thirty-second shots, and I just couldn’t get the right mix of exposure for the barn and stars.
Then someone turned on a car’s tail lights behind me while my shutter was open. I was furious— I thought this would ruin my shot. Instead, what I got was the shot above, with the added gem of my shadow.
Twenty prior attempts went into the trash. This was the one I kept.
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