This photo has been over a year in the making. From the moment I made my first visit to this overlook in spring 2018, I knew I wanted to shoot the night sky from here. I made one more trip here that summer and in February I started planning. Using my knowledge of the night sky combined with @photoephemeris I was able to determine that the end of September would be the best time to try to capture some of the Milky Way over the falls during the correct moon cycle. During a trip mid-Sept, I used the AR component of @photopills to confirm the time that I’d need to be there during the date range I’d figured out. Now all I had to do was hope for clear skies during the window. Well, Mother Nature had other plans and brought not just cloudy skies but a massive early snowstorm to central and southern Alberta during the window. I was a bit gutted thinking I’d have to wait another full year to execute this shot but hey, that’s landscape photography in a nutshell. Thankfully on the second last possible night the cloud models were showing potentially clear skies. As the day approached, the clear sky window held so I embarked on a crazy “milk run” to make it happen. Leaving Edmonton at 2:30pm with @smoobalutattoos and the pups, we made our way to David Thompson Country first stopping first at Ram Falls for sunset and to capture the MW over those falls before making the 1.5 hour long trek along dark and snowy mountain roads to Crescent arriving just before midnight. We hiked to the overlook and waited an hour in the cold for the MW to get into position. The wait was so peaceful and perfect and a reminder that, for me, the photo is secondary to the experience. After firing my frames we made our way to the base of the first falls and took some more shots before finishing up around 2:15am, finally arriving back home around 5:15am and covering 650km in 15 hours. Planning and execution like this is everything that goes into making exceptional photos vs good photos.
This shot was 17 frames at 25 seconds, ISO 8000, f2.8 stacked in Starry Landscape Stacker and edited in LR. Swipe to see the full image.