Star Tracks at the Great Basin National Park

The Great Basin National Park is a designated “Dark Sky” destination, meaning it is an excellent place to photograph the stars when the moon is down. Janet and I visited the Park recently, and I was out to see if I could take advantage of the opportunity. I was not disappointed. I left our comfortable room at midnight, and spent the next 5 hours happily photographing the brilliant stars. Star wheels are made by positioning the camera with the North Star (Polaris) in a good location in the frame, opening the shutter for a long period (usually 45 minutes or more) and taking a nap while the camera works on your behalf. In the first photograph of this post, I positioned an old wooden fence post, complete with rusty barbed wire, to point directly to the North Star, with other stars wheeling around the pivot of Polaris. I like the way the post connects the earth and sky. The low lights in the distance are from the town of Baker, Nevada, many miles away. In the second photograph, I positioned the camera very low next to an old, rusty car frame situated alongside the road leading to the Visitor Center of the Great Basin National Park. The car makes a nice contrast to the stars above. It reminds me of the temporary nature of human endeavor and the permanence of the heavens.

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