After a long summer hunched over the computer, writing, I had a chance for a quick getaway to Great Sand Dunes National Park in southern Colorado. While shooting the dunes was my primary mission, it was also an opportunity to get out somewhere dark, away from civilization.
I decided to try a little astrophotography out behind the lodge. For this shot, I used a 30-second exposure at ISO 1600, f/5.6 and the Nikon 14-24mn f/2.8 AFS G Nikkor lens (one of the sharpest, most awesome wide lenses there is) on a Nikon D800e. I focused the shot on the tree by using a flashlight, then used mirror lock-up to initiate the exposure. During the exposure, I did a little light-painting of the foreground with a small LED spotlight with an orange (tungsten) gel on it.
I brought out the expanse of the Milky Way across the frame by making exposure adjustments to the Nikon RAW file in Lightroom 4.