Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Astro-photography Addiction

Full moon rising over Mount Saint Nicholas, in Glacier National Park (c) John Ashley
Full moon rising over Mount Saint Nicholas, in Glacier National Park (c) John Ashley

Astro-photography is not only an art form, but it's also a type of addiction. It's either too challenging and you give up, or you get totally hooked on it. And if you're an astro-addict like me, then you probably watched last night's "hangout" live, featuring a panel discussion by eight of the best astro-artists. Either that or you watched the YouTube version today after being out all night photographing the full moon. That would be me.

I spent the evening on snowshoes, atop six feet of snow on a mountain ridge, in order to place the moonrise against one of Glacier Park's snow-encrusted mountain peaks. To top it off, I stopped by Lake McDonald on my way home to shoot some test exposures with two new lenses. It was there, around midnight, that a local amateur showed up with his camera - he had also developed a night photography addiction, and was planning to be out until 3am. I shamelessly encouraged this behavior by introducing him to light painting.

It's comforting to know that there are people out there who appear rational, functional and otherwise normal, but who also feel this insatiable need to stumble around in the freezing darkness with a camera. I'm in good company.


  1. You photos have inspired me to start learning the art of astrophotography. I see myself becoming addicted to being out in the dark :-)

  2. John,

    I'm an amateur photog shooting a Nikon D7000.

    I was in Glacier National Park last summer and met your wife and was impressed by your photography. We bought a huckleberry heart print. Your work stood out among all the others I saw in the Glacier area and I've been following your blog ever since.

    I've caught the astrophotography bug and anxiously wait for the arrival of every new moon. I wanted to share about a recent experience at Priest Lake in Northern Idaho. I went up to get a picture of the Milky Way above the lake because I couldn't find online that anyone had really tried much up there. I arrived at midnight and not only was the Milky Way shining bright, but the northern lights were glowing on the horizon. It was a magical night.

    In fact, my favorite photography experiences have been during those middle of the night shoots under the stars.

    Thanks for your inspiring photos. I can only hope to take pictures at that level some day.

    All the best,


    1. Muchos gracias, Craig. Private message sent.