Photographers often suggest you look in back of you when you are photographing or you might miss out on something better. While photographing Comet NEOWISE in late July 2020, that's exactly what I did. Comet in front of me, Milky Way in back. I had to photograph both. This is the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains by Owens Valley. At over 10,500 ft (3200m) in elevation, the sky is clearer, the stars more visceral, and the smile much larger. The bristlecone pines are some of the oldest living things on the planet, some growing before Buddha or George Burns walked the earth. I illuminated the ancient pine with a handheld ProtoMachines LED2 light painting device during the exposure for the earthbound elements, and let the universe do the lighting for the rest.


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