Here Comes the Night

Partying with the Stars

Story and Photos By Jon Mills

My interest in Idaho’s night skies is a passion born of necessity. Landscape photography rather famously has a very short amount of time in the morning and evening when the light is most favorable for pictures.

I am most often at work during the day, which usually limits my available time for photos, and one such evening I found myself arriving at a location a bit too late for a good picture. I decided to just sit and watch the stars for a while before loading up my gear and heading home. After night fell and some time had passed, I noticed that I could easily make out the faint Milky Way and decided to adjust my camera and take a shot anyway. Mecca! An Idaho treasure previously unknown to me had suddenly been discovered. I could hardly believe the amount of light and detail I was able to capture from the very little light I could see. What had begun as an unfortunate circumstance for landscape photography wound up being just the push I needed to find a new passion for what I call “Nightscapes.”

More research revealed why I was able to capture the amazing night sky of southern Idaho. The combination here of high altitude, low light pollution, and a landscape covered in dark rock offers a view of our night sky many people throughout the world will never have the opportunity to see—and for a photographer, this fortunate combination allows the light of billions of stars to come shining down with brilliant clarity. That was the reason I could make these images with only the stars as my light.

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