The Milky Way Arching Over the Teton Mountains


Time to read 1 min

I had a secondary mission in mind on the day my friend and I ascended Table Mountain in Wyoming to witness the 2017 total eclipse over the Grand Teton mountains (read about that story and see the resulting photograph). After the event, after everyone had packed up left, we remained in the area to rest and take in the spectacular views of the area. When evening arrived, we hiked a little bit closer in towards the massive drop-off between our position and where the Grand Teton mountains rise straight up from the creek below. 

Blue dot is the peak of Table Mountain. Arrow is the cliff and the Tetons on the right to the east.

We remained at the precipice through sunset and waited for the night sky. Prior to the hike, I used planning software to predict the position of the Milky Way Galaxy. That night was a confluence of events: the moon was down, city lights were far off and the galaxy spanned the sky from left to right over the mountains. Perfect. 

I mounted my camera to the Gigapan Pro V sitting atop my stupidly-lightweight 3 Legged Thing carbon tripod, programmed in the starting and ending positions, the focal length of the Sigma Art 1.4 lens, set the exposure to 8 seconds and captured over 100 images from left to right. I then reprogrammed the Gigapan to reshoot just the lower portion of the scene at two times brighter so I would have detail in the dark areas of the scene. 

The next day, after freezing the entire night and not sleeping one bit, I warmed up to the rising sun. In the background seen in the photo below is the cliff I stood atop all night. Pretty nice drop off!

The hike down was pretty amazing, too. We rewarded our efforts by dipping our feet in the cold stream at the parking lot followed up with a delicious burger in Driggs, Idaho. Then it was off to Seattle to process the photos. 

Back at home, after hours of processing to combine the photos into one large image, I have it ready now for printing onto acrylic and metal


I was wondering if you have copies to sell of the “The Milky Way Arching Over the Teton Mountains” picture that I saw on google. My husband and I were up at Table Mountain a couple of summers ago and were able to see a complete arch of the milky way, but didn’t have a good enough camera with us to capture it. I thought that this piece of art would be a fun present for my husband depending on the price. Let me know if this is a possible request or if I would be able to get my hands on a jpeg that would let me print it off somewhere that would be fantastic too! Thanks :)
-Summer Allison


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