Monday, July 8, 2013

Finding Your Little Bit of Heaven

"Celestial reflection - alpine wilderness" ~ © Royce Bair (click for a larger view)
Everyone has or should have a place where they can find seclusion and solitude. A place of peace and beauty where they can feed their soul and recharge their inner batteries. For me that place is the High Unitas Wilderness in northeastern Utah.

This is also the closest place for me to find deep darkness for my NightScape photography. The above photo was taken on the western edge of this wilderness, at an unnamed lake near Hayden Pass (10,375 ft. / 3,162 m.). The red glow is light pollution from Salt Lake City metro area, 55 miles (89 km) away, although getting there is a 85-mile drive (about two hours) along I-80 and Scenic Byway SR 150.

Memories: Creating an image like this has been a dream of mine since I was 14 years old -- when my father took my cousin and I on our first backpacking trip into the Eagle Cap Wilderness of Oregon's Wallowa Mountains.

Photo Tour / Workshop: On Aug 2nd, I am conducting a one-evening "NightScape" workshop to some of my favorite locations in this area. For more details, go to my Meetup about this event.

Your own bit of heaven: For my friend, Jack Fusco, who leaves in New Jersey, that bit of heaven is found along the eastern coastal beaches near Cape May and Ocean City. I encourage you to find your own area of sky darkness and seclusion.


  1. Beautiful Image. Funny my first backpack trip was in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. I was right out of Florida and had no Idea the world was so beautiful. Its a wonderful place. I went last weekend to find my own bit of Dark Sky heaven high on the continental divide in central Idaho. Beautiful lake, Dark Dark and Secluded, but all clouds. Maybe one day I will have your luck.

  2. Great shot , nice sense of movement.

  3. Royce-

    Hello, I recently joined your meetup group. I'm a newbie to photography in general and would like to learn more about taking nightscapes. I live in Charleston,SC but am planning to take some vacations out in SLC and possibly relocate their in the future. I initially wanted to get into astrophotography with a telescope and a dslr, but found it too much. I had a new Cannon T3i converted through a guy in SC named Hap Griffin. He specializes in replacing the store bought filter with an UV/IR block filter. I can still shoot daytime shots using the Program or Manual mode setting (and a custom white balance). I have a few lenses. For milky way shots, I have a wide angle Tokina lens with a f2.8. I also have the kit lense and an inexpensive zoom lens along with a tripod. I really want to take wide angle shots of the milky way with something in the foreground. Is there a link or site on how to do this? Does one have to comply focused shots of the stars along with focused shots of the foreground item? Do you ever use a flash when taking either? How does the object that is near appear lighted up? So many novice type apologies. (humor) Any help or links would be greatly appreciated. -Brian Todd

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