Monday, April 14, 2014

Kofa Revisited

I went back to the Kofa Mountains a couple weeks after my first visit. Again, I was hoping for a Milky Way shot over the mountains and this time, the weather cooperated. I parked in a new spot this time near Kofa Queen Canyon. A clear sky was a welcome sight.

The Milky Way over the Kofa Mountains.

It was probably about 4:30 when I hopped out of the truck to see the Milky Way shining brightly overhead. Light pollution from Yuma (right) and Quartzsite (left) added a bit more to this 8-frame panorama. It took a couple tries at the post-processing to get it right. The subtle colors of the stars as well as the tiny bit of green airglow were tough to bring up. Having shot in RAW mode on my camera was a big help. I was able to process each RAW file and color correct them before I stitched the pano.

The rugged peaks at the entrance to Kofa Queen Canon.

The next morning was a clear sky day. No spectacular sunrise, but I thought the light streaming around the peaks was very interesting.

Kofa Prominence

I used my 80-200 f/2.8 lens to concentrate on the atmospherics of the sunrise interacting with the mountains. I hardly ever use this lens, but haul it around with me wherever I go. It was nice to find a use for it on this trip.

I drove home knowing I had accomplished my goal of capturing the Milky Way. It was a satisfying trip and the reaction to my shot was a bit overwhelming. I was surprised at how many people responded to it. This is something I'll have to work at some more. Finding the right location is half the battle and having a vision of the shot before taking it is key in this type of photography.

© 2014 G. Reid Helms / Arizona Panorama
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