The Big Dipper, by Paul Roark

Taken in July 2009 at the Golden Trout Workshop, this image shows the "Big Dipper" hanging over one of the log cabins at the historic Golden Trout Camp. The camp is at 10,000 feet in elevation in the Southern High Sierras, west of Lone Pine. The clear air and lack of light pollution allow us to view the stars with a clarity that is beyond what we can see where most of us live.

At over 8000 pixels high, and made with a modern solid state sensor, the image shows even more stars with more clarity than I can see by eye. At the same, time, however, upon very close examination, one can see that the stars are not dots but very small arcs due to the 30 second exposure time.

The "Big Dipper" is part of the constellation Ursa Major (Latin: "Larger Bear"). In practice, the important function the Big Dipper plays is that the front of the Dipper points to the North Star.

The apparent double stars in the "handle" are Mizar and Alcor. In fact, it is a much more complex stellar sextuple system.

The light on the mountains and trees is from the moon. The side of the cabin, in the shadows, however, required a little fill from my LED headlamp.

As I have found many times, a 35mm lens on a full frame "35mm" camera, when the option of stitching is available, makes a very versatile tool. Here 3 frames of the 35 f/2, at f/2.8, on a Canon 5D2 did provided excellent coverage.

If you are interested in astronomy, you might also enjoy this image: "Hubble, Monocerotis, & Dunes."

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To go to the September 2013 Catalog, please click here.