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Milky Way over Bear Lake, RMNP

stenslandstarsoverbear2

“Stars Over Bear” by Erik Stensland. Reprinted with permission.

This is Erik Stensland’s newest published photograph, the Milky Way above Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. Longs Peak is reflected in the lake. It was shot just four days ago, June 3, at 4 am, using a Nikon D800e, tripod, and 14-24mm 2.8 lens. See more of Stensland’s work on his website, Images of RMNP.

I’ve never seen the stars like this, or the lake this glassy. But then I’ve never been in the park at 4 am.

Bear Lake can be reached by car on a paved road and the drive alone is well worth the trip. However, unless you arrive very early in the day you will not be able to park and/or see the lake. Best advice is to park elsewhere and take a shuttle. I sure miss the old days when I could head up to Bear any time on the spur of the moment without worrying about parking. These days the trip requires a bit of forethought. Unless you go at 4 am, of course.

17 Comments »

  1. You wouldn’t see it like that even if you did make it up there at 4 am. The sensors on today’s cameras are so cool and they come up with shots like the one you posted when using a very slow shutter speed. To your eyes it would be pitch darks except for the twinkling stars. It’s rather amazing, really!

    • Oh, I know. But even without a camera, the altitude and lack of light pollution afford a view unmatched at lower elevations or closer to cities. People who’ve never traveled to higher, more remote locations have no idea how many stars are really visible.

      • So very, very true! These days it is so extremely difficult to get away from light pollution. Judging by that satellite map of the earth at night…. it looks like it’s either out at sea, or North Korea. 😮

  2. Oddly enough and as simplistic as it might seem, one of the items on my ‘bucket list’ is to lay beneath the stars one more time and take in the vast visual array of the night time sky without the interference of residual lighting to dim the sky. I can not remember the last time I looked up and saw anymore than a few glimmering flickers of light. I can not imagine seeing something as awesome as that reflected in your attached photograph! 😦

    • As Gunta pointed out, the human eye cannot see what this camera sees. But what you seek is readily available in RMNP, where you can either camp or drive in every evening from Estes Park. Or rent a cabin in or near another mountain community. (Allenspark was my family’s favorite place years ago.) I never cease to be amazed at the number of stars visible in the mountains, that are always there, that we simply can’t see when we’re in town. It’s one of the many reasons I’ve always loved the mountains, and you certainly won’t find me dismissing your wish as “odd” or “simplistic.” People who’ve never been in the mountains cannot imagine it.

      • I’ll actually keep that in mind because as luck would have it, another item that has been on my ‘bucket list’ for a number of years is to visit the area around the headwaters of the Arkansas River which is more precisely near Leadville which is some 100 miles west of Denver. That would certainly put me in the neighborhood and… knock 2 items off the old bucket list! 😀

        • Oh, Leadville would be a great place to visit. It’s beautiful there, it’s high (at 10,430 ft., it’s North America’s highest incorporated city) and it’s even further from Front Range light pollution.

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering 'it will be happier.'” ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

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