One of the other things I did on my Arizona trip was shooting the night sky. Northern Arizona has some of the darkest night skies in the country, so it seemed a shame to waste the opportunity.

The surprising thing about the picture below is that it’s not a composite. Most night sky pictures are. For the sky itself, you have little choice in exposure: you use a shutter speed of 20 seconds with a high ISO and your lens wide open. The problem is that even a flashlight shines like the the sun with an exposure like that, so normally you have to take a picture of the foreground separately and then merge it with the sky. In this case, however, there was a shed about 200 feet behind me with only a single bulb over the door. It barely provided any light at all—which was perfect. It was just enough illumination to look normal even with a super-long exposure.

The moon is way overexposed, but there’s no help for that. I dodged it some with Photoshop, which helped with the clouds, but the moon itself is so blown out that nothing will help it.

Overall, though, this turned into a nice picture. The moon and the clouds are very picturesque, and the warm, shadowy colors of the fence make a very nice foreground. I’ll post more pictures like this one over the next few months.

January 28, 2020 — On I40 east of Kingman, Arizona

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate