Category Archives: Milky Way

Milky Way over Mt. Evans

Back to Mt. Evans and Summit Lake again for this image. The storm clouds were just clearing on top of Mt. Evans as the evening got dark enough to capture the Milky Way. Some of the clouds were just dissipating as I captured the Milky Way over the Mt. Evans and it appeared as if steam were rising from the mountain, almost as if an volcano was erupting. Something and unique and different capturing the stars during our Jamboree last year.

Astro Eruption

Astro Eruption – Click to Enlarge/Purchase

Capture Notes:

Also posted in astrophotography, Canon 5D Mk III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, Mt. Evans Tagged , , , |

Sunset Milky Way

I found this image unprocessed from the Astrophotography Jamboree a couple of years ago. This was taken from Summit Lake near Mt. Evans as the sun has set below the horizon.  The light from the sunset was still highlighting the evening clouds below the mountain and above Denver. It created a unique silhouette the hillside, while making the clouds golden and being so high in elevation you could see the milky way illuminated in the sky overhead. It was such a unique combination of lighting situations. I was just lucky enough to capture it.

Sunset Milky Way

Capture Notes:

Also posted in astrophotography, Canon 5D Mk III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, clouds, Mt. Evans, stars, sunset Tagged , , , |

Summit Lake Milky Way

We had a great turnout this year for the Shooting for the Stars Jamboree this year I did in conduction with The Photo Frontier. I captured this 7 image pano and finally had a chance to process it so I thought I would share it with you for the weekend. This image is from Summit lake just below the 14,000 ft. peak of Mt. Evans.  It sits high in the Tundra above tree line and this evening of the jamboree the clouds cleared enough to capture the amazing Milky Way over the lake.

Have a great weekend!

Milky Way over Summit Lake near Mt. Evans, Colorado

Summit Lake Milky Way | Click to Enlarge/Purchase

Capture Notes:

Also posted in astrophotography, Canon 5D Mk III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, Mt. Evans Tagged , , , |

Mt Wilson Milky Way

One of the things I wanted to do on my Fall Tour this year was test out the night photography capability of the Fuji X-T1. I know it has great low light capabilities, but I wanted to see it in action. I needed a wide lens for some astrophotography and didn’t want to break the bank doing it.  Fuji does make a 14mm f/2.8, but I wasn’t too keen on spending $900 for the lens. I decided to try the Rokinon 12mm f/2 lens. This is the equivalent of a 19mm full frame lens.  It is a manual focus lens, but being that it is a wide angle lens the hyperfocal distance for the lens would make it that it would be fairly easy to get things in focus.  As it turned out it was perfect for astrophotography and has become one of my favorite carry around lenses.  I can just set it to f/8  everything is in focus from about 2 ft. and beyond is in focus.  Rokinon makes a silver and a black version of the 12mm lens. I opted to save a few dollars and purchase the silver one. I’m not sure why the lens is more expensive in black.  It sure doesn’t affect the image quality.

Rokinon 12mm f/2 in Silver finish

Rokinon 12mm f/2 in Silver finish

I love how the manual focus adjustment is nice and tight. It makes manual focusing a pleasure to use. When you do mount it on the Fuji X-T1 the camera will not recognize the lens so you have to manually set the camera to know it’s a 12mm lens. Also the images produced won’t give you the proper Exif information, but I can live with that. It will allow you to work in both manual and aperture priority mode and the viewfinder adjusts appropriately to the change if aperture. The aperture ring has a nice click to each setting so you know when you have made a change. The one thing I don’t like is the lens hood that came with it. It doesn’t say on tight and is useless. I’ll have to find another one or figure out how to get it to seal better onto the lens. For less than $400 I’m not going to complain. I hardly use it anyway.

On the 2nd evening of the tour we ventured down to Wilson Mesa. The night was fairly clear with some clouds flying into the scene as the night grew on, but I was able to capture this image of the Milky Way just to the right of Mt Wilson. I took some shots at f/2 and found there was some vignetting with the lens and found it much better at f/2.8 or above. The lens is nice and fast. The main thing is the lens was sharp and no major distortion issues. I give this lens a full thumbs up. I see no reason to spend the extra money for auto focusing at this focal length.

The Fuji performed great. I shot most of the evening at iso 5000 and there was minimal amount of noise at that high iso and it cleaned up nicely afterwards with Capture One. It didn’t quite have the low light sensitivity that my Canon 5D Mark III does but it did perform as I had hoped it would. The one thing I did not like was looking through the electronic view finder was like looking into a snow storm so the only way for me to get the proper image composition was to take a few test shots and adjust the camera to compensate based on the test shots. It’s not ideal and this is where an analog view finder comes in handy. I’m sure a camera like the X-Pro 1 or X100S with the optical view finder would be much better in this situation. It’s nothing I didn’t over come and now that I know what to do it’s not a big deal anymore. The most important thing is the images came out great! I look forward to bringing it out on more astrophotography adventures.

The Milky Way next to Mt. Wilson as shot from Wilson Mesa, near Telluride, Colorado in the Fall, 2014.

Mt Wilson Milky Way | Click to Enlarge/Purchase

Capture Notes:

Also posted in astrophotography, Fuji X-T1, Mt. Wilson, Rokinon 12mm f/2 Tagged , , , , , |

12 Best Landscapes 2013 – Part 5

We finish out the 12 Best Landscapes 2013 in Colorado. Image #8 is something panorama of the Milky Way along Ohio Pass near Crested Butte, Colorado. This image was taken on a clear evening this past year during my fall photo tour.  One of the benefits of not having any clouds in the sky makes for an amazing sky at night especially when the moon is small in the sky.

A Panorama of the Milky Way Over Ohio Pass

Milky Way Over Ohio Pass | Click to Enlarge

West Dallas Creek is home to one of the most amazing fall scenes and is image #9 of my 12 Best Landscapes for 2013. This is Mount Sneffels and is a prominent 14 thousand ft. peak near Telluride and Ridgway, Colorado. The Sneffels Meadow here in this image contains some of the most amazing fall colors in Colorado and is a definite must see for photographers. It will definitely be one of the places we visit next year during my Colorado Fall Colors Photography Tour.

A View of Mt. Sneffels and Sneffels Meadow along West Dallas Creek near Telluride and Ridgway, Colorado

Sneffels Meadow | Click to Enlarge

Also posted in aspens, astrophotography, Canon 5D Mk III, Crested Butte, long exposure, Mt. Sneffels, Ohio Pass, Telluride, West Elk Mountains Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

12 Best Landscapes 2013 – Part 2

This is part 2 of 12 Best Landscapes 2013 and I continue on today with 2 more of my favorite landscapes. We stay in the Grand Teton National Park area. My first image today was however not in the National Park, but on the west side of mountain range on the Idaho Side of the Teton mountain range. This image was taken from Driggs, Idaho and a view that was a first for me this year. It challenges for one of the best views of Grand Teton Mountain I’ve ever seen. The west side of the mountain range is surrounded by farmland the mountain is magnified as it standup among the rolling grassland on the Idaho Side of the Tetons.

Idaho Grand Teton Sunset

Idaho Grand Teton Sunset | Click to Enlarge

Image number 4 takes us back into Grand Teton National Park, but this time at night along Oxbow Bend. Oxbow Bend is a quiet bend in the Snake River with amazing views of Mt. Moran and is known for some amazing sunrises with spectacular reflections on the Snake River. The river at that bend is slow-moving and makes for glass like water to give off that amazing reflection. Ryan Wright and I went there at night this time to capture some stars and the Milky Way. Here is the Milky Way and the stars reflecting off of the glass-like water at Oxbow Bend.

Milky Way at Oxbow Bend by Rick Louie Photography

Milky Way at Oxbow Bend | Click to see it Large


Also posted in astrophotography, Canon 5D Mk II, Grand Teton National Park, Idaho, mountain, sunset, Wyoming Tagged , , , , , , , |

Milky Way from Signal Mountain

I’m taking you back to Grand Teton National Park again today, but this time for a night-time image from Signal Mountain.  During the day up on Signal Mountain in the early summer months, the side of Signal Mountain is covered with wild flowers. The top of the mountain gives you a great view over the Teton Valley and a view of the Grand Teton Mountain Range. At Night, it’s a great place to get a large view of the sky over the Teton Valley.  This evening started out with some cloud cover but then some brief winds took the storm clouds away leaving the night sky filled with the Milky Way.

The lights in the bottom of the image come from the Jackson Lake Lodge area and also captured the International Space Station streaking across the sky. This is a 9-image stitch. The exposures were a little long for the 14mm lens so you can see some star movement in the images. I’m looking forward to the warm summer months again. Standing out in the dark of the night sure is more pleasant in the summer than in the winter.

Milky Way from Signal Mountain, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Milky Way from Signal Mountain – Click to Enlarge/Purchase

Capture Notes:

Also posted in astrophotography, Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM, Grand Teton National Park, long exposure, Signal Mountain Tagged , , , , , |

Stars over Ohio Pass

The first day Lee A. Brown, Chris Nitz and I got into the Crested Butte Area on my Fall Tour it was a crystal clear day. The sunset was uneventful since there were no clouds in the sky, but I knew that evening it would be perfect conditions for some astrophotography. We dressed warm and headed for Ohio Pass. The sky did not disappoint us. Be sure to check out Chris’s first astro shot on his blog.  Well done, Chris!

We experimented with some different compositions, did some light painting on the trees and just before we left I borrowed Lee’s Zeiss 21mm lens to do a few compositions. The Zeiss is one sharp lens.  I should have borrowed it more on the trip. This is a lens that is definitely going on my wish list. I created this 9 shot panorama of the Milky Way. It’s my first panorama of the Milky Way and I still have some things to learn and experiment to get it just right, but I have to say this is a good first start.

I enjoy experimenting and trying new things. The process of learning and discovering is what keeps the brain active and is what I love about photography. There seems to be something new to learn and do and is what keeps me excited to be a photographer.  I love sharing what I know and if you ever come out to Colorado I hope that I can share some of my knowledge with you.

I’m definitely looking forward to next years Fall Tour. I know that Chris is coming out again. Hopefully you can join me next year.  Have a great weekend!

Stars over Ohio Pass

The Milky Way over Ohio Pass – Click to See it Large!

Capture Notes:

Also posted in astrophotography, Canon 5D Mk III, Colorado, Crested Butte Tagged , , , , , |

Milky Way over Oxbow Bend

I never thought sleep would be such a treasured commodity, but traveling North in the hemisphere makes for late sunsets and early sunrises.  If you couple that with a night of astrophotography it leaves about 2 hours of sleep in a van…wait for it…Down by the River (Chris Farley reference).  Sunset was around 9pm and Sunrise was about 5am in the Tetons.  One evening Ryan Wright and I ventured up to Signal Mountain and then over to Oxbow Bend to capture the Milky Way in all its glory!  It was a New Moon so the stars were not competing to outshine the moon when we were in the Tetons.

I’ve never been down to Oxbow Bend at night, but you could hear the fish jumping in the water and ducks moving around and of course mosquitos nibbling at my flesh! I do have to say the reflection was awesome on the still water of the Snake River and once the clouds passed through it made for a wonderful night sky. This particular evening the hydrogen in the atmosphere created a green gas in the night sky and the camera sensor picked it up in the shot. Here’s my favorite shot from the evening!

Milky Way over Oxbow Bend

Milky Way over Oxbow Bend | Click to Enlarge/Purchase

Capture Notes:

Also posted in astrophotography, Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM, Grand Teton National Park, long exposure, Mt. Moran, Oxbow Bend Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Illuminated by Starlight

One of my favorite things to do on a landscape photography trip is to get away from the city at night and just scenery illuminated by starlight. Seeing a cloudless sky under the millions of stars makes you realize just how vast and large the universe is and we are just a small part of that universe. I remember the first time a fellow photographer taught me the proper settings and technique for capturing the night sky and just how giddy I was seeing the image on the my LCD screen. Now when I bring others out to shoot astrophotography for the first time, pass on the same techniques and it is even more enjoyable to see them jump for joy as they capture their first star lit sky or their first milky way.

This image was from a camping trip this past summer at Paradise Divide in West Elk Mountains just outside of Crested Butte. The night sky was amazingly clear this evening and the sky was still giving the lake a mirror like finish to reflect the stars.

I’m so looking forward to a little warmer weather this Spring, Summer and Fall and trips I have planned back to Moab, Grand Tetons, Great Sand Dunes, West Elk and San Juan Mountains and not only capturing the beautiful daytime scenery, but getting out at night to capture the night sky away from the light pollution of the city. I’m looking forward to meeting some of you on my upcoming to Moab this Spring. If you have never done astrophotography be sure to hit me up and ask me for some pointers on the trip.

There is also space available on my Photo Tours this year with Colorado Photo Tours.  It’s not too early to plan and book your trips for the upcoming year. Ryan Wright and I will definitely be heading out for some night time astrophotography during our tours and teaching others how to capture the beautiful night-time sky. I hope you can join us.

Illuminated by Starlight

Illuminated by Starlight – Click to Enlarge/Purchase

Capture Notes:

Also posted in astrophotography, Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, Crested Butte, Paradise Divide, West Elk Mountains Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |