Cleveland National Forest is just a short drive from San Diego, California.  That short 1 hour drive gets you into some amazing dark night skies, was the place Night Sky 1 was created. The area is a great place to shoot night photography of the stars and milky way.  Read more to see how the image happened.

Cleveland National Forest

Cleveland National Forest is just about an hour’s drive East of San Diego, CA.  This is an awesome playground for the adventurer wanting to escape the city and enjoy some nature.  It was designated in 1908 and named after former President Grover Cleveland.  This forest is also home to the Mount Laguna Observatory.  Therefore, it is a protected dark skies area and is great for star photography.

Behind The Scenes

This image, titled “Night Sky 1” was taken in the summer of 2013 in Cleveland National Forest. The milky way lined up great for me for just a short time to get this tree in the foreground pointing at the night sky.  Composition can be very difficult at night given the lack of light, and many times it takes a lot of patience waiting for the right moment.  Photographing the milky way can take a lot of time to get it lined up with your foreground.

Shooting sky photography at night is never easy.  It requires using a tripod for long exposures, and being very careful walking around wildness in the dark.  Everything moves slower when you are photographing the stars at night.  If you use a light to get to your destination, you have to take the time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness to compose your shots.  You also need to be cautious while moving around in the dark if you don’t use a light.  Therefore, a night of shooting stars typically yields far fewer images than a standard day of shooting.

If you do shoot at night, it is best to travel with a friend.  This can be difficult when multiple people try to compose shots using lights at different times.  It is wise to communicate with each other to ensure you don’t mess with each other’s images by turning on a light source while the other is shooting a long exposure.

Thank you for visiting my site, and I hope you enjoy the image.

This photograph is available in my shop HERE.

Photograph of Milky Way Stars with dead trees near Cleveland National Forest, California across the Night Sky

Photograph of Milky Way Stars with dead trees near Cleveland National Forest, California across the Night Sky

The Trip

Photographing the milky way in Cleveland National Forest was a very peaceful and energizing experience.  Being forced to slow down due to the darkness, really allows you to soak in the landscape.  I also think it increases your other senses because it is not easy to see.  For anyone that has the opportunity to go here and see the night sky I highly recommend it.  Then again, take advantage of any dark sky area and spend some time relaxing under the beauty of the stars.

If you are a fan of Night Sky 1 Cleveland National Forest, don’t miss my behind the scenes of Shooting Star.

More Fine Art Photographs

Don’t forget to look at the images on my site in the galleries starting at:  Hopefully you find some of them inspirational for your own photography adventures, or maybe you find an image you want to call your own.