You never know when or if it will happen. For landscape and travel photographers it is a milestone we wish and hope for. There are so many good and even great photographers out there these days it is an honor just to get noticed at all. Today I awoke to my image in National Geographic Traveler magazine.
I had been waiting for the right time to go out and get some images of the Milky Way Galactic Core. I starts to show above the horizon in the northern hemisphere in the hours just before dawn in March. For several days I could not get myself out of bed at 2:30am to make the drive and hike into one of my favorite spots in Sedona Arizona. This spot has a classic view of Cathedral Rocks. Using some great apps on my iPhone I had identified the exact time I had to be at this location to have the Galactic Core just above and to the right of Cathedral Rocks. I finally got up and made the trip on March 24th.
I arrived at 3:30am. I have to admit being a big nervous being out there alone in the dark. It is down a set of dirt roads and then a hike to the location. Conditions where perfect, no wind or clouds. I took some great images but the moon had already set so I could not get light on the foreground landscape.
Talking with my photo buddy Scott Stulberg and we agreed to go back together on May 31st. This time the conditions would allow for the moonlight to bath the rocks and then we could get the Milky Way after the moon set. We arrived at about 3am. I was much happier having two of us as we had heard a mountain lion had been seen in the area that week. We went to work.
We had discussed a series of images we wanted to get before the sun rose. Scott teaches night photography and is one of his great loves. We had hit this spot and time perfectly. We both knew we had something great in the camera as we drove home at dawn.
We shared out edited images with each other and posted them to our respective sites online. Fast forward to the end of April… I received an email from National Geographic Traveler Magazine. I was excited but thought I better check things out to make sure this was truly coming from them. It was and I agreed to submit my image to be put in a group of finalists. Now the waiting began. Would they pick my image or not?
Of course they did and I am honored. That one thing we photographers want on our resume’ is having been in National Geographic. Ok, so it’s not the main magazine. But close enough! The travel magazine is cool.
So what is next? I keep shooting images, hanging out with fellow photographers, teaching classes and planning on the next moment to come. The one that won’t get away or be missed. Images are crafted, not just taken. If you are out in the red rocks of Arizona you might run into Scott and me. It could be 2am in the morning under a carpet of stars and galaxies. A sight to sit under and be awe inspired by again and again.
Original image and larger version of the email screenshot: