In late July 2023 I decided to revisit one of my favorite areas of the North Cascades, for the main purpose of re-doing the very first night shoot I ever did back in 2017 at Picture Lake. When I did that shoot, I'd never shot anything at night before and really had no idea what I was doing -- didn't even think of the phase of the moon! My camera at the time was a great unit but night shots stretched it a bit beyond its capabilities. I found a couple more hikes in the area that I hadn't done of course for the daytime. On Saturday I hiked up to High Divide, a relatively easy and very rewarding hike with amazing views of the entire area. In the late afternoon I hiked Galena Chain Lakes loop which is the most popular hike in the area so crowded but absolutely spectacular. After sunset I stayed up until about 1am shooting the night sky, slept a few hours, and then drove up the AWFUL 4x4 road to Twin Lakes and hiked Winchester mountain the next morning.
During the night shoot I had some technical issues, partly due to being tired. I tried to get the computer to stitch the images together but it refused. I finally spent nearly four solid hours manually aligning and compositing the images in photoshop (which I'd never done before) for the final result you see below. At the time of this posting this is the most difficult image I've ever created, and I believe just about the best as well! I shot Andromeda separately with my 400mm lens and enlarged it in the image, since apparently Andromeda is six times larger than the moon in the night sky, though too faint for our eyes to see.
Technical Specs of night sky image:
Sky is 10x (5 across / 2 high) 120 seconds at ISO-800 Rokinon 14mm F2.4 SP EF at F2.5
Foreground is 5x 30 seconds at ISO-1600 Rokinon 14mm F2.4 SP EF at F2.5
Andromeda is 30 seconds at ISO-3200 Canon RF 100-400mm at F8