“I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.”
These night photos are truly labors of love. When I think of all the mini-hardships I’ve endured…the freezing nights, the never-ending sleep-deprived hikes, the long drives in the dark (and the resulting collisions with wildlife), the hours spent standing around because the ground is too cold and too hard to sit on and I didn’t pack a chair, the nights I’ve forgotten to pack a snack, the mornings in which I can’t make it back home without stopping multiple times for terrible truck-stop coffee because it’s still too early for the little drive-thru coffee shops to open…sometimes I wonder why I do go out for these photos at all.
I definitely don’t take these types of photos for the money. In fact, it has been quite a while since I’ve sold a print of the night sky. I do it because these photos sing to my soul. I love taking them. I love processing them, re-processing them. I still find joy in these Buzzfeed-like lists titled “20 AWESOME photos of the night sky!” and find myself wasting 4 or 5 minutes scrolling through the entire list of photos taken by my contemporaries, even though I’ve seen nearly all of the photos before. I love looking at the photos of other talented photographers who go out and document their sky. I am particularly enamored by the southern hemisphere’s skies–they look so different than the ones I’m used to here in Oregon. When I see those Magellanic clouds and their upside-down galactic center I’m instantly transported somewhere foreign and exotic.
Anyway, the galactic center of the Milky Way will be retiring shortly (around here, anyway), but there’s still a lot of great night photography that can be done. And so tonight, some dark beer, college football, and some padron peppers stuffed with sausage and cream cheese and wrapped in bacon have won out over another night in the cold, camera clicking away. But I’ll be back out there before too much longer.