The first photo I posted on Google+ was actually my second attempt to take this shot. This is the first.
I had visualized this shot for almost a year before the conditions all came together to allow me to take it -- a clear moonless night, the Milky Way in the right position and, most difficult (for me), the time to make the run up to Joshua Tree National Park to take it. When the conditions all materialized, I called my good friend/ adventurer/ photographer +Phillip Colla and off we went on the 3 1/2 hour drive. We shot until 2:30 a.m., drove back home and both went to work the next day.
Notice I didn't say we worked the next day; just that we went to work.
This is a six-shot panorama. For each shot, the shutter was open for 30 seconds, during which we time light-paint the arch for a few of those moments. All very scientifical/artistical. Sorta.
I like this version better than the one I posted earlier, which was taken a month (OK, one lunar cycle) later, because the Milky Way is a bit lower and, therefore, further left so it echos the rock arch a bit more closely. (That has nothing to do with being taken one lunar cycle earlier; Unlike the moon and the sun, the Milky Way alway rises in the exact same spot and follows the exact same path across the sky.) I also processed it with new (for me) software - Nik's Dfine for noise reduction, and Viveza for color and lighting. Even though the lighting on the rocks is a bit too harsh, overall I'm much happier with this version. Just gives me a reason to go back next year.
And . . . I'm hoping to boost the number of people in my circles; so please feel free to share. Thanks!