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The Milky Way Galaxy - clouds of stars

Posted by
Scott F. Schilling (San Martin, United States) on 6 July 2010 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

I had an opportunity to do some late night photography along the shoreline of Caples Lake in the Sierra Nevada Range. The main challenge with this image was my fear of bears! I brought along my dog Kylani, a Siberian Husky, but I still was very wary of every sound that I heard while taking the images. Once I got to work shooting, I began to relax a bit. The stars show incredibly clear at high elevation - near 8,000 feet above sea level at this location. Round Top Peak is in the distance and the crest of the Sierra Nevada Range.

NIKON D3 62 seconds F/2.8 ISO 4000 20 mm

Mike from California, United States

Great shot Scott...unfortunately for you if Kylani decided to flee vs. defend in a bear encounter, she runs faster !

6 Jul 2010 5:09am

Alun from cheshire, United Kingdom

WOW. stunning image

6 Jul 2010 5:21am

Richard from Montferland, Netherlands

Ohww, what a brilliant composition and you captured the stars fantastic Scott. This is realy a 5* nomination from me!!

6 Jul 2010 5:36am

KriKridesign from Cully, Switzerland

WHAT A SKY!!!! Fabulous!!!!
Next week I'm going to the Aletsch glacier to make a hike and I hope huge amount of pictures...I have to remember wich are the parameters to use for triing to get a dark sky with stars...!!!

6 Jul 2010 6:37am

Nigel from Avening, United Kingdom


6 Jul 2010 6:47am

rokhsana from tehran, Iran

it is AMAZING!

6 Jul 2010 7:12am

Tamara from Aarschot, Belgium

Wow... incredible ! This is really fantastic. Have a great day Scott :)

6 Jul 2010 7:56am

Marie LC from France

night of dream... incredibily marvelous !

6 Jul 2010 9:50am

steve loos from hollister, United States

Scott; Caples lake is one of my favorite fly fising areas in the Sierras. This is a beautiful shot; you captured a shot of the center of the Milky Way! I don't know about bears in this area but I am sure they are attracted by the clicking sound of camera shutters , , ,

6 Jul 2010 10:28am

Elora from Genoa, Italy

My God - this is AMAZING! It makes me feel so tiny in this incredibly huge galaxy. Five stars from me for sure!

6 Jul 2010 11:01am

MK from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

thats beautiful scott, well worth risking a few bear hugs

6 Jul 2010 11:06am

Eric Cousineau from Sherwood Park, Canada

Outstanding capture Scott! Bravo! ;-)

6 Jul 2010 11:32am

George from Northern California, United States

Great shot Scott. It reminds me that I need to get out there and do more night photography.

6 Jul 2010 1:35pm

PD from Overland Park, Kansas, United States

Beautiful! I am going to Colorado at the end of the month - will have to try some star photography at high elevation. Thanks

6 Jul 2010 2:42pm

Denny Jump Photo from Easton, PA, United States

Wow how marvelous and powerful is this !?! Fantastic and perfect exposure - each star has a clarity all its own outside the milky way and the milky way itself is beautifully captured and shown - really great sir. I think I was up there when I was a kid in Roseville - long time ago..I love/hate bears too....and don't even talk to me about snakes.

6 Jul 2010 2:58pm

Don Smith from California, United States

Beautiful image of the night sky and the snow-capped peaks - very cool! After my night out in the Yosemite back country a few summers ago, I had a long talk with the resident Yosemite bear expert. She told me that I should have been more concerned with mountain lions as the bears only really want your food - not you. Having Kylani may have only made things worse as they (mountain lions) will attack dogs. When Beri hikes at Garrapata, she has wanted to take our dog along, but we have been advised against doing that. Just something to think about as I know you and Kylani have become good friends. Having another person join in on these night excursions is the best option, but I know that is not always an option. Just keep making a lot of noise and leave any food at home. Glad you were safe - what we put ourselves through to get an image!

6 Jul 2010 2:59pm

Julie from Easton, United States

This is really an amazing shot! Almost makes you feel like you are in outerspace. Just awesome!

6 Jul 2010 3:02pm

Tracy from La Selva Beach, United States

This is incredible! It looks almost like something we might see through a telescope! I am so glad that you braved the bears and the mountain lions.....Now I can enjoy your hard work from my living room! :)

6 Jul 2010 3:31pm

Stu from Scotland | Living in 京都 Kyoto, Japan


6 Jul 2010 3:48pm

Barbara from Oakland, United States

Scott, this is a stunner. 5 Stars all the way! I know that you and others have written about what it takes to get this kind of image, and it is very complex. Well, you certainly nailed this one! Is it a very high ISO? I know that if you open the shutter for too long, the stars will track. I really appreciate seeing this image this morning. Thanks for sharing with us.

6 Jul 2010 4:53pm

Krunal from Mumbai, India


6 Jul 2010 4:58pm

Curly from South Shields, United Kingdom

How many stars could I award for this stunner? I just didn't realise that it was possible to see so many stars in the night sky until I saw your pictures, I'm pretty sure that I've never seen a sight like this anywhere in the UK.

6 Jul 2010 6:54pm

Macrobaby from Vancouver, Canada

One trillion stars for this one!! Cheers, my fav for today.

6 Jul 2010 8:44pm

Bear from Cambridge, United Kingdom

WOW. Completely stunning in every way. So beautiful.

6 Jul 2010 8:56pm

Wild Mustang Photography from Carlisle, United States

Superb! 10**********! WOW, I wish I was there! This is beautiful composition!

6 Jul 2010 11:03pm

B. Thomas from Arlington, Texas, United States

Fantastic...five stars, or 5 billion!

7 Jul 2010 12:00am

Judy from Brooksville, Florida, United States

Your image is incredible, but good heavens ... you risked yourself and Kylani on this outing ... Don's advice sounds wise to me. I hope you had bells on, but then again, I don't know whether mountain lions are scared by bells. ???

7 Jul 2010 12:38am

Steven from Chicagoland, United States

Stunning capture of this night sky. Great composition as well. I love the "sheet of glass" on Caples Lake.

7 Jul 2010 2:31am

DarkElf from Perth, Australia

superb composition and excellent exposure! the shutter speed is just on the border where the stars would become really blurry and you timed the shot well! and that at ISO 4000 with hardly any noticeable noise - wonderful ground work to get the most of the camera here! the view is nothing short of spectacular!

7 Jul 2010 3:44am

rainboy from Nainital, India

wow...heavenly :D

7 Jul 2010 5:07pm

Julie Brown from Indianapolis, United States

Beautiful scene, Scott. Don's comment was interesting. I did not think of mountain lions. Be safe!

7 Jul 2010 5:39pm

silent from mashhad, Iran

Oh my god this is really beautiful
You really an artist...

7 Jul 2010 9:32pm

Yonatan from Bronx, United States

I think your fear of bears is very healthy. Wonderful image, breathtaking.

8 Jul 2010 9:54am

Xerophytes from London, United Kingdom


*bows down to your greatness*

You are my inspiration in landscape photography!

8 Jul 2010 1:47pm

Nazzareno from Rome, Italy

Very beautiful and a great atmosphere, wonderful shot

8 Jul 2010 2:37pm

Stephen Phillips from San Francisco, United States

Wow, Scott - this has my heart pounding! Magnificent! A few years ago - I was with a friend up at Ice House Lake (below Loon Lake - just east of the Tahoe Ridge) After bedding down - we had bears right up against the fabric of the tent - you could practically feel their breath. But they're not the least bit interested in us - just our Raisenettes. Still, I would have appreciate Kylani's presence. This was well worth overcoming your fears.

8 Jul 2010 7:19pm

Tede from Aubenas 07, France

A stunning picture of beauty, your pictures are great. Good day.

8 Jul 2010 8:59pm

Charles Dastodd from Chicago, United States

holy crap!!!!! this is absolutely amazing! incredibly impressive shot, Scott. i didn't know shots like this could be taken!!

9 Jul 2010 1:26am

Barbara Kile from Ft. Worth, United States

Ethereal - so many stars! Nicely captured. Wish I still had my Siberian - she was a beautiful dog!

9 Jul 2010 1:58am

Seraphine from San Francisco, United States

perhaps if you tried to take pictures of the bears,
you would have instead been afraid of the stars?

9 Jul 2010 4:47am

Sandy Weston from Madison, Maine, United States

"....Starry, starry night.
Paint your palette blue and grey"...
Incredible scene!

10 Jul 2010 12:39am

Didier DE ZAN from somewhere, France

Great shot !!

11 Jul 2010 11:56am

Deborah Colling from Morgan Hill, United States

Incredible, Scott. I love your particular artistic perspective. My family was threatened by a bear once - I hear you on the fear. Never been the same since.

12 Jul 2010 5:50am

`Paul from Minneapolis, United States

WOW .. this is absolutely STUNNING, especially the way the Milky Way itself is so richly colored.

13 Jul 2010 5:02pm

Vitor Martins from Lisboa, Portugal

Superb compo and night shot.

15 Jul 2010 10:26am

Vaido from Võrumaa, Estonia

Excellent scenery for these stars, great mountains and lake surface!

19 Jul 2010 10:00am

Albert from Hamburg, Germany

This is an absolutely outstanding sky!!! Good work!!! I wish I was there...

24 Jul 2010 11:20am

Alan44 from France

C'est magnifique,de la très belle photographie.

7 Oct 2012 7:19am