And I decide it might be fun to go out and shoot some star photos :)
Fortunately, I had plenty of arctic gear with me and that made all the difference in the world. My hands were always cold from dealing with the camera, but the rest of my body stayed surprisingly warm!
And what a TREAT!
While you're bound to see a tourist or two during the day even in winter, at night you truly have this amazing place to yourself. Despite a bright crescent moon in the sky, the stars still managed to shine though brilliantly with the milky way diving right down the middle. My exposures were 4 minutes each so I had lots of time to enjoy the show.
(TECH NOTE - If you've ever done stars you're probably wondering how I pulled off a 4 minute exposure without the stars streaking. I was using a tracking system to keep the camera aligned - this also has the effect of capturing WAY more stars than any "normal" night time camera techniques are capable of.)
As I made my exposures over the course of an hour or so, I watched constellations, shooting stars, and satellites all float by the "Silent City" below. The only sound was the wind as it came up from behind me and fell into the canyon. It would occasionally build up to a gust that would try to tear through my insulation, but it made little progress and I'd quickly warm back up.
The entire time it was just me, the stars, and the eerie darkness. Surprising how when you're out there like that how wild this place feels. I was literally just a three minute walk from the parking lot, but out there making these images it felt like I was totally removed from civilization.
After an hour or so I had taken all the shots I needed and besides, my hands were taking longer and longer to warm up. I don't mind telling you, I could hardly stand the drive back to the hotel - I just couldn't wait to check out the images on the computer! I'm personally thrilled with how this shot worked out and I hope you enjoy it too.