Desert Night Sky

Earlier this week, the family and I spent a few days in the Mojave Desert, at Red Rock Canyon State Park.  The first night was cloudy, rainy, and very windy.  A couple nights later, it was calm, clear, and very dark.  Here’s the view west from our campsite.

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More desert night skies HERE.

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About Tim Messick

Photographer, cartographer, and botanist/naturalist. Home is in Davis, California. Home-away-from-home is the eastern Sierra Nevada. Compiling a flora of the Bodie Hills.
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5 Responses to Desert Night Sky

  1. Nice. I don’t usually ask technical questions but I’m wondering what kind of exposure settings you used for these images.

  2. Tim Messick says:

    Hi, Larry! The exposure for the top photo (with tent) was 26 seconds at f/4.5 at ISO 3200. The other photo was 30 seconds at f/4.5 at ISO 1600. Both were made with a 24-120 mm lens set to 24 mm, using the full frame “FX” sensor on a Nikon D700. Both were processed initially in Lightroom, then a bit further in Photoshop. Curves were pushed quite a bit to lighten the sky, increase contrast between the sky and stars, and adjust the colors a little. This was a first experiment at night sky photography, so the initial exposures were probably not perfect, but close enough to make the pictures work.


  3. Thanks for the details. I’m going to have to practice more with night sky photos. So far I haven’t been impressed with what I’ve been getting. I get a lot of noise in mine, perhaps the difference between cameras? Other than that, I give you rather than the equipment credit for getting good results.

  4. Ursula says:

    Wow Tim, this is an amazing photo!!! I love it!! I took a star trail shot once with my tent near the Eureka Dunes in Death Valley I was pretty happy with, but nothing compared to this! This is spectacular and I like the colors/processing a lot too!

  5. Mike says:


    Such a beautiful night sky!

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