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First Milky Way of the year

This morning I woke up at 1:15am to go up to Rocky Mountain National Park with +Mike Berenson +Jon Blake +Chris Kirby and +Jim Casteel to see the first milky way of the year. It was an unusually calm, windless, warm and serene morning, which allowed us to spend hours playing around without freezing to death. As the moon was rising I found a good exposure to balance the foreground with the sky, I leveled the tripod and took 20 vertical images, with the overlap this ended up being a 62 megapixel image. Thank you Mike for setting up this trip, I had an incredibly good time and I look forward to the next excursion!

#starrynights
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444 comments
 
I don't know if I had anything turn out that nice...
 
Oh. Wow. This is beyond words.
 
Wow, so beautiful, like Star Trek XI.
 
Fantastic detail. Worth being up so early in the morning!
 
Awesome! But why hasn't the rising moon washed out the Milky Way??
 
+John H. Moore it was a very thin waning crescent, only 20%. Just enough to light up the landscape and not wash out the milky way too much
 
No doubt! That beats my effort hands down! Something tells me we'll be heading back there again... :-) That's sweet!!
 
Thanks +Mike Berenson I almost thought I was going to have to scrap this because nothing would stitch it properly, finally I tried PTGui and it worked like a charm! I'll send you an email about something very cool I figured out as well...
 
Well, with or without any challenges, I think you hit the ball out of the park on this one!! Way to go David!!
 
This is a very beautiful surreal image. What a cool work you've done!
 
worth the effort . . . nice !
 
Excellent image. Thank you for sharing
 
Beautiful, Just Beautiful! Like in a fairy tale!.
 
Wow, superb! Nice milky way span!
 
Am I dreaming? This is just awesome! Imagine soaring through that sky, around the clouds!
 
Extremely good job. I'll bet you enjoy the picture almost as much as you did going and taking it. That is what it is all about.
 
This is an amazing spectacle to look at.
 
I cannot remember seeing such a brilliant photo. Well done
 
Nice processing. So many stars, but the sky still looks smooth. :)
 
I think I need to own one of these so I can look at it for a very long time...
 
it is an amazing picture, thnks for sharing :D
 
It's as if you can reach into the picture, become a part of it. One of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Thank you so much for sharing this.
 
amazing. where's that Place ?
 
Wow, that does not even look real... Breath taking for sure!
 
Wow.............................. 'o'................ Great shot..............
 
For a second, I thought this was a screenshot from Skyrim. Excellent view.
 
Sure is a beautiful picture..:)
 
uau......this is a beautiful picture , congrats !!
 
This is one of the most magnificent images I have seen. Period! Mahalo +David Kingham good to have found you!
 
If i was in the same room as you i would kiss you
 
Hey +Robert Arn it was taken just before you get to Dream lake, there's a nice overlook if you climb up just a bit
 
thats reminds me of aurora borialise
but this is very beutieful
 
A magnificent photo. My compliments.
 
starry, starry night
paint your palette blue and grey...
fantastic!
 
Truly Epic! Just fantastic. I love how it forms an arc...like a rainbow.
All you need now is a bit of Aurora ;-)
 
Very Very nice.. Hope i too can see this...
 
Beautiful! I just shared with my circles. :)
 
This is insane. Thank you everyone! The power of G+ is phenomenal
 
Absolutely brilliant!
 
that is so beautiful, experiencing that must of been amazing.
 
Well worth anything you had to do for that shot, just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
 
Anyway to get the full 62megapixels image for my wallpaper purpose?
 
I would love to get a link to the hi-res pic. This would be an awesome desktop bg.
 
David - Wonderful ur photograph as well as vivid description of ur experience. Thanks David for sharing with us. I would like to talk to u. My cell no: 919434416904
 
Very nice ... the earth has alot to offer ..... even absutly gorgouse moments like that .... smart to post that and thanks for sharing
 
I want to go up with you folks some time. I'm just over the boarder in Wyoming.
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great work done keep it go more for us 
 
totally insane. I want to be on that next trip. Wow!!
 
hi..................................?????????????????/
 
amazing. It is one of my dreams to be able to see the milky way.. Simply beautiful
 
That is an amazing picture! How did you capture that?
 
Very beautiful, almost surreal. Love it!
 
how?? cloudy it is what a beauty it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
absolutley incredible,..photo mission successful!
 
Looks like Christmas morning.
 
Gotta have awe. This could be today, or before humans existed. I love it
 
I want to be a photographer now. Beautiful.
 
great photo ...really beautiful
D Essa
 
Awesome.can you give us the numbers for the aperture, shutter speed and iso please? 
 
nice job davo i like it lots!!!!!!!
 
Hmmm, what adjective should I use to describe this image that hasn't been used in the above comments ?
Sigh
Awesome shot !!!
 
lucky moment and excellent shot..awesome
 
That is worth more than one hundred thousand words.
 
Absolutely beautiful +David Kingham ! An excellent piece of work. Definitely worthy of having a huge print done.
 
梦幻般的美丽... meaning so beautiful, like in dream / magical land.. great work !
 
Wow ! Nice stunning picture of the year. Thanks for GOOD Job
 
nice wake up for a new day
 
they are truly beautiful David, you are very talented
may may
 
A M A Z I N G!
 
May i ask where is this place? it is such a perfect place where i cant believe it exist.
 
really really nice +David Kingham I can only wish to take pictures like this one day. Perfect conditions too! That's a lot of vertical shots for the panorama. May I ask, how long was each exposure? 30sec? and ISO to keep the noise away but stars to stay? Did you have NR turned on, if so, it must have been a lot of waiting in between shots. Also, are you using a wide lens? I run into all sorts of distortion problems with my wide lens on panoramas. One more question. At what phase was the moon? I find that if the moon is giving enough light to lit the landscape, I don't really get the amount of stars I'm after. This is always a trade off for me. Awesome work once again
 
i am so jealous i love the rocky and you did not come and get me from alabama, yes that is a amazing pic hope you enjoy it wish i was there with you all may god bless you all.
 
wow how nice is the creation of our lord Jesus Christ, love it
 
David, you nailed it. Your photo is now in my top five of all-time; maybe even number one.
 
it definitely grabs the eye... wow
 
Wow...that's incredible! When it was zoomed out I thought it was a painting

Is that streak from a satellite or a comet? (I only see one, you really got some stunning shots!)
 
Holy PantsOfIncredibleness. You popped up on my Google+ page somehow. The screen was not scrolled. Google does not read my mind well. So I was thinking disparagingly about candy bars, and then ..... this. My. God. I am awestruck. Thank you.
 
Wow, that is so amazing, that is just tooo bad, love it.
 
Wow!! Words can not describe the beauty
 
just owsomeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
 
Im glad u had a great time on ur excursion to the rocky mountains. It must of been a wonderful sight to be there in peron and look up into that beautiful sky full of life. Great photo. Thx for sharing.
 
The wonders of God's creation
 
"Wow" doesn't even begin to describe my reaction to this shot. That is beyond cool!
 
It's so incredible I almost don't believe it's real!
 
Wonderful shot. Due to light pollution I can only see these when I'm at the peak of the highest mountain in this here country, sad.
 
when I go to Wis to c my family at nite I go outside the nite sky's r full. it's amazing!
 
not sure if you can characterize waking up at 01:15am in the "morning" :D
 
I concur will all of the above. Kindly post a much higher res.
 
happy trip and have good time
 
What a Beautiful Picture. It reminds me of some wonderful times I had camping in the deep woods of the Cascade mountains in Oregon......

Thanks for sharing with us......
 
I know I posted b4 but that is soooooooooooooooo awesome!!!!!!!!!!
 
Good morning , this is a beatiful pic ,
 
A wonderful shot. Fantastic sky and scenery.
 
good and wonderful and we hope to see more ...... Next comment will be in arabic be ready to read. 
 
Such a beautiful photograph. It looks like an fx cgi for a movie. Thanks for sharing. This is a skill that I wish that I had more time to learn.
 
Heavenly, just heavenly!!! Thank you for sharing!
 
+David Kingham Is there a higher res version online somewhere???
 
Hi from hans nolan Arman you can say that our Creator is the Greates. The one and only our King 
 
That's awesome I wanna see it must be just so wonderful to be blessed to see something like that
 
Amazing pic, so beautifull. You are a great artist.
Musa AB
 
Brilliantly Brilliant:)
 
The picture is great! I am just not sure if this is truly how the sky looked when you clicked it.
 
therefore one realize we live on a piece of dust in relation to the universe...
陈京
 
amazing, i wish i had been there.
 
WOW wot an amazing pic, great shot David
Bo Zou
 
not bad...
 
awesooomeeee.........i m in love with this photo...
 
Beautiful image. Really magical...
 
nice one. what was going on?
 
Wow...So Beautiful!!!!!!!.....Muahhhhhhh
 
what does "First Milk Way" mean?
 
What a fantastic picture!
 
Absolutely fantastic work! So worth getting up early!
 
Gorgeous. Great way to start the day. TY!!
 
+David Kingham They absolutely can, but this photo simply uses a different technique. Why does it command less respect on behalf of the viewer or the artist? What do you suppose a real photo is, and is your interpretation really the only one that you might enjoy. In their context, were the moving pictures of the 30's not "not just REAL photo's ...anymore"?! What if they didn't warrant peoples respect, where would we be now. Its a effing amazing capture, commanding more timeless respect of nature that any single photos could.
 
Wow, amazing pano ! Really like the rendering of the sky.
It was worth the early wake up.
 
+Francois Fourie Each exposure was 15 seconds, ISO 1600 at 2.8. I never use long exposure noise reduction, just takes too long and the results are not worth the wait imho. I used a 24-70 at 28mm, which on full frame is a pretty wide angle but I've only had issues when going superwide. I used PTGui for the stitching and it did a fantastic job, I highly recommend it
 
The execution on this is phenomenal David! Kudos.
 
+David Kingham Thanks for sharing the tech info behind the shot. I keep thinking that one of these days I have to give night star photography a try. This image inspires me.
 
What an amazing image. There's just so much detail to take in. Truly a feast for the eyes. Thank you for sharing.
 
Surely 1:15am is still night and not morning? I know technically you are correct but c'mon 
 
You should have it framed and try to sell it. It doesnt look real. Beautiful.
 
Wow very beautiful! Where is this again..
 
Oohhh come on to you i he had never of gotten up and took the picture i would of never seen one at all so give the man some slack
 
That's awesome - looks like a painting!
 
Yup my favorite Milky Way photo to date
 
Ooooh yes I can see why this was popular - well done fantastic image!
 
Getting in a comment before they fill up. ;-))) Easily one of my favorite nightscapes you have yet produced, so I find it appropriate this one went viral. Fantastic work, love this one David.
 
Earth is a the most wonderfull
Think to see
 
mostly amazing panorama scene I have ever seen....stunning work
 
The best i have seen till now. Very nice work. :)
 
Beautiful photo. i am new at photography. Anxious to  try night and dusk shots...this is darn near perfect!
 
I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE THIS PLAYED AT MY FUNERAL AS DREAMS NEVER CAME TO ME IN LIFE..SO IM HOPING THEY WILL IN DEATH....... AND IF NOT FOR ME THEN THE POEPLE I LEAVE BEHIND
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