The Ancient Bristlecones are some of the oldest living organisms on the earth and they almost look dead. They just have gnarled, twisted, barely leafed branches all over. I’ve always wanted to visit their forest in the Eastern Sierras and in July I finally got to see them with my own eyes!
After driving all day, Willie and I arrived at the Patriarch Grove knowing from experience that most likely sunset was going to go from really hopeful to a total dud. Sure enough, it did, the clouds fizzled and we switched into Milky Way mode.
The tree we had initially found wasn’t facing the right direction for the Milky Way and Willie went off to explore. That’s when he had the idea that the Milky Way might fit perfectly between its branches. I pulled up the “Sky Guide” app on my iPhone and sure enough, at 1am, the Milky Way lined up, almost as if the branches were spearing the Milky Way. I also loved how a little bit of clouds stuck around to catch the glow from the city of Bishop, hiding in the background.
This photo is dedicated to Jeff Swanson, a fellow photographer and overall great guy, who sold me the lens I use for my milky way photos (including this one) but lost his battle with cancer. I'll always think of you when I'm out with my camera playing under the stars.
Nikon D800 w/Bower 24mm f/1.4 ED UMC:
24mm f/2.2, 20 sec, ISO 1600