Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Ajo Mountains at Night

Organ Pipe National Monument, AZ, 1977
I was one of the pioneers of what I called "astronomical landscapes" -- how the world really looks at night. The combination of fast film and fast lenses made this possible, and I just naturally saw the artistic possibilities. For this shot, I camped out at the base of the Ajo Mountains in Arizona. (What's the difference between New Mexico mountains and Arizona mountains? Arizona mountains look like they were drawn by a cartoonist on psylocybin.) Before dark, I found a saguaro in just the right spot, set up my camera on a tripod, and waited till the moon was sinking low in the west, casting an eerie light on the mountains and saguaro. Then I took a series of 30-second exposures -- short enough for the stars not to trail.
Arizona Highways liked it, but turned it down because it was "only" 35-mm and they insisted on 4x5. At least I got a little article in Sky & Telescope. So much for my astronomical landscape career, though you can see why so many of my stories take place at night.
BTW, it's amazing now much more time I had when I was 31!


Post a Comment

<< Home