Miscellaneous - Kevin Key Photography - San Diego, California
Milky Way Arch Over a Couple of Ancient Bristlecone Pine Trees

Milky Way Arch Over a Couple of Ancient Bristlecone Pine Trees

This was my second visit to the Ancient Bristlecones - the first visit was during the daytime.

To produce this panoramic image, I shot and stitched together 13 vertical frames at 25 sec f/2.8 ISO 3200 with my Canon 6D and Sigma 15mm EX DG.

I was camping at the Trona Pinnacles when another photographer asked if I'd like to meet up and go shooting over here. I'm glad I did - even though it was about four hours away from where I was at. I think the high altitude (10,000 feet / 3048 meters) had an effect on me. I kept losing my sense of balance and stumbled around much of the night (and no, I had not been drinking). Plus my nose bled a few times for no other apparent reason (this happens when I fly, too). Unsurprisingly, at this altitude, it gets quite chilly at night - even in the middle of July. Fortunately there wasn't much wind.

We also ran into some other photographers - that happened to be from the San Diego area - and were shooting the Milky Way for the first time. I gave them lots of pointers.

The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is a protected area high in the White Mountains in Inyo County in eastern California. The Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) trees grow between 9,800 and 11,000 feet (3,000–3,400 m) above sea level, in xeric alpine conditions, protected within the Inyo National Forest. Foxtail Pine (Pinus balfouriana) also grow in the forest. The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is generally open from mid-May through the end of November, weather permitting.