Black Canyon of the Gunnison is an amazing black sky reserve in Colorado. I heard about it as an option during a long weekend while I was in Denver. Deciding to see what it was all about, I ended up having an awesome experience. When we drove up, I was stunned by the depth of the canyon walls. It was almost like visiting a smaller version of the Grand Canyon. The major advantage? It was relatively empty! Even during the busy summer months.
Photographing the night sky is best in a black sky reserve. The best option I’ve ever seen is the outback of Australia (you can check out my image from Uluru), but there aren’t many places that remote. Reserves have very limited (or no) man made light pollution allowed for a certain distance. Since this was a last minute trip, we lucked out by arriving during a new moon. The visitor center had a massive telescope out for education since this is a great spot to view the sky. A quick glimpse down into the canyon and I knew that I wanted to photograph from the bottom.
I hiked down to the base of black canyon from the north rim. It was late in the afternoon and my goal was to get a picture of the sky with the river flowing through the frame. After hunting down many different options, I decided to venture out onto some rocks in the middle of the river and got the composition I was looking for. I spent over 6 hours balanced on this rock taking pictures of the stars on this beautiful night that I will never forget. The milky way was the perfect highlight of the evening.
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