The Milky Way arcs across Sunset Crater near Flagstaff Arizona.

Milky Way Over Sunset Crater

The Milky Way arcs across Sunset Crater near Flagstaff Arizona.

Last night I was able to get out and photograph the Milky Way over Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. The night was perfect for shooting a starscape.

Milky Way Over Sunset Crater Shines Across the AZ Sky

This trip was a bonus for me with regards to shooting the Milky Way. My daughter had a weekend long swim meet in Flagstaff that brought us to the high country of northern Arizona. I figured I should take advantage of being here and find a nice spot to photograph the stars. Flagstaff has several popular areas that are perfect for grabbing the Milky Way. I had originally wanted to do some light painting and of course I left that gear at home. Too much swim meet chaos packing overloaded my brain. At least I brought the camera and some memory cards.

I checked with an online buddy who lives in Flagstaff on some possible locations. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument was one of the ones he recommended.  With it being only 25 minutes from our hotel, my target was picked. The large volcano peak would provide a nice outline to contrast against the Milky Way. Given that it is a monument I wasn’t 100% sure I would be able to get to the area I saw on Google maps. My buddy assured me it would be open. He made note that the park rangers would be ok with the photography as long as I stayed in the parking lot area and did not venture down one of the trails.

Upon arriving I was met by a young couple who had made the trip up from Mesa. They were excited to be out and were just getting into astrophotography. We chatted about the technicals of photographing the Milky Way and I was able to share some tips with them. I have to admit it was nice having someone out there to chat with as opposed to being alone. Last year when I was in Flagstaff for the Milky Way I crossed paths with a black bear in route to my location. Having someone else there at least gives the bear another eating option. 😉 I wrapped up my shooting content with the images I got and said my goodbyes.

All in all it was a great night photographing the Milky Way over Sunset Crater. I will have to make it back some time to do a time lapse.

This image is available for purchase at my gallery site.


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