Glenn Randall Photography

Extraordinary landscape photography from Colorado and the West

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Milky Way Over Grays Peak from Torreys Peak



Milky Way over Grays Peak from Torreys Peak, Arapaho National Forest, Colorado

Milky Way over Grays Peak from Torreys Peak, Arapaho National Forest, Colorado

In the film era, landscape photography at night was pretty limited. Sure, you could shoot scenes by the light of the full moon, which often ended up looking like daylight shots with a few odd white streaks in the sky. Or you could do long exposures ‒ minutes or hours ‒ on moonless nights and let the stars create elegant trails across the entire frame. But no film was capable of recording the night sky as we see it, with bright stars that appear to be stationary.


The earliest digital cameras were frankly even worse than film at recording long exposures in dim light. The latest digital SLRs, however, have overcome the limitations of their predecessors. The sensors in these astonishing cameras are so sensitive to light that they have made it possible to record the night sky as we perceive it.


Sunset from the summit of Torreys Peak, Arapaho National Forest, ColoradoThe Milky Way is one of the most beautiful sights that can be observed by the unaided eye at night. As you may recall from your college astronomy class, the Milky Way is really just the diffuse glow of billions of stars in our own Milky Way galaxy. The stars are so numerous, so distant, and so tiny that our eyes cannot resolve them into individual stars. The Milky Way galaxy is shaped like a plate, not a sphere. Our solar system is located about two-thirds of the way out from the center toward the rim. You can see the Milky Way if you look toward the rim in any direction, but it's much brighter when you look through the center of the galaxy toward the most distant part of the rim because that line of sight includes far more stars than when you look toward the closest part of the rim. The Milky Way is actually visible every clear night throughout the year, but its brightness varies considerably with the seasons because different parts of the Milky Way are above the horizon at night at different times of year. As it happens, the brightest and most interesting part of the Milky Way lies in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. In the northern hemisphere, Sagittarius is a spring and summer constellation. In the winter, it is only above the horizon during daylight hours and is therefore invisible.


I had timed my shoot on the summit of 14,267-foot Torreys Peak to coincide with a nearly moonless night in August so I could shoot the brightest part of the Milky Way against the darkest possible sky. After hiking up the peak in late afternoon and having a dinner picnic on the summit, I shot sunset and then waited an hour and a half until it was fully dark. Then I spent two hours shooting the Milky Way as it wheeled over 14,270-foot Grays Peak. As Sagittarius began to set to the southwest, I packed up and headed down the trail by headlamp. Two hours later, at 2 a.m., I was back at my truck. I drove home and finally collapsed into bed at 4 a.m. after a twenty-one-hour day.

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Glenn Randall Photography  |  2945 Colby Dr.  |  Boulder CO 80305-6303 | Office 303 499-3009  |  Mobile 720 320-7126

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I offer over 100 images on this site, in four or five sizes each and as many as five different presentations (loose, matted-only, framed, gallery-wrap canvas, and gallery float). It is impossible to keep every size and presentation of every image in stock at all times. Accordingly, most of the items I offer for sale on are hand-built one at a time as customers order them. It normally requires between five and ten business days to complete an order, but it may take longer if I am on an extended shoot. Shipping time is in addition to these figures. To get specific information about delivery time for a particular item, please call 303 499-3009 or email me. I will do my best to accommodate rush orders. Thanks for your patience!

All photographic prints, regardless of presentation (loose, matted-only, framed, etc.) are delicate and require careful packaging to be shipped safely. Accordingly, all online purchases will have a 15 percent charge added for shipping and handling. This shipping charge only covers shipments to the continental United States. Please contact me for a quote on shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, or to international destinations. If you would like to pick up your print at my home office in Boulder rather than have it shipped, please call 303 499-3009 (office) or 720 320-7126 (mobile) to complete your purchase and make arrangements for pickup. Alternatively, I can deliver prints in the Denver metro area for $1.00 per mile based on round-trip mileage.

All matted-only and framed prints larger than 24x30 inches, all gallery-wrap canvases and gallery-float prints larger than 30x40, and all framed panoramas wider than 30 inches, are too big to be shipped via FedEx ground and too big to fit in any standard-size art box. While these prints can be shipped, they require a custom-made crate and the cost is exorbitant ($300+). I strongly suggest that all customers who live outside the Denver metro area and who wish to purchase a print larger than the maximums specified above buy the loose version and take it to the custom frame shop of their choosing. Loose prints can be shipped rolled at the standard shipping rate of 15 percent of the retail price. I will gladly provide detailed instructions to the framer on the moulding I use and my preferred method of mounting and framing the piece.

I use elegant hardwood frames on all of my framed prints. The image above right shows the frame I use for the smallest framed size of this image. I use proportionally larger frames with the same color finish for larger prints. The moulding shape will vary, depending on the size. For more information on the frames I recommend for different size prints, please visit my framing page.

Studio Moulding frame 353-125 cherry Studio Moulding Forte 4934 mahogany-finish picture frame Studio Moulding Forte 4834 mahogany-finish picture frame

I allow returns for a full refund (minus shipping) for 30 days from the date of delivery if you are dissatisfied with the print. You are responsible for the cost of shipping the print back to me, including the cost of insuring it for the full retail value, and the print must arrive in salable condition for a refund to be issued.

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