The Black Rock Desert is one of the darkest places in the United States. Don't believe me? Figure it out for yourself here. It's gleefully devoid of light pollution, and it's graced with clear skies more often than not. As such, the atmosphere provides unusual and exciting stimuli on a regular basis. A friend saw aurora borealis there this past winter, for example, and the desert is far further south than most places where aurorae are visible.
Set the scene
So we were kind of screwing around at camp one in the evening, enjoying our right-there hot springs and watching it get dark, just a normal kinda stormy Nevada desert evening. And then IT happened. By "IT," I mean the faintest glow on the eastern horizon that would be totally lost in the noise in a place not graced with this kind of darkness.
I'd seen this before out here, so I knew that the smartest thing to do was to put my beer down, grab my camera and tripod, and get to work. As the minutes passed, the glow grew faintly, and the camera has the bonus of being able to record things that the eyes don't really pick up on, so the level of stoke rose quickly. The clouds and the light changed by the second, so one moment could be so-so and the next moment could be monumental.
Yup, those are stars poking through
This pre-moonrise show starts far earlier out here than anywhere else I've ever seen, and it gets grander and grander until the moon finally arrives. The different layers of clouds mixed with the diffuse reflected light from the moon just does ridiculous things, and it's a pretty fantastic spectacle. The clouds light up copper-gold, the sky still has enough color in it to do the blue thing, and the stars are bright enough to poke through.
For context, Gerlach
The moon's presence keeps the clouds doing awesome things, but it's impossible to expose properly for both. I kind of dig these next two, but the moonless ones are the ones that really rev me up.
Oh hi there
Gold and gray
So, um, yeah, I like these, and I hope you do too. More radness in the hopper.
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