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. 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 5” was taken in the summer of 2013. The milky way lined up perfectly for me for just a short time to get these burned trees right in the foreground. Composition can be very difficult at night given the lack of light.
Shooting sky photography at night is never an easy task. It requires using a tripod for long exposures, and being very careful walking around wildness in the dark. If you do this type of photography I highly encourage you to take a friend with you just to be safe. 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. Therefore, a night of shooting stars typically yields far fewer images than a standard day of shooting.
This particular area of Cleveland National Forest was particularly great for shooting milky way photography. There had been numerous fires in the area and because of that there was many burned trees that were great as foregrounds in front of the night sky. Unfortunately, shortly after this image was taken, another fire came through and leveled these trees.
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Shooting the night sky 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. Seeing the sky and the stars reminds us of just how vast everything is. 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 nature, don’t miss my behind the scenes of Secret Canyon.
More Fine Art Photographs
Don’t forget to look at the images on my site in the galleries starting at: https://mjvphoto.com/the-art/. Hopefully you find some of them inspirational for your own photography adventures, or maybe you find an image you want to call your own.