A Perseids meteor is captured next to the Milky Way over the Arizona desert.

Perseids and the Milky Way

A Perseids meteor is captured next to the Milky Way over the Arizona desert.

Last night I managed to capture the Perseids and the Milky Way all in one shot. I wasn’t sure at the time it happened, but one look at the back of my camera confirmed my hopes. 

The Perseids and the Milky Way Shine Across Picacho Peak

I had wanted to get out earlier in the week to try and capture the Perseids meteor shower but work and family obligations prevented that. As Saturday approached I thought I might still get lucky and be able to head out to dark skies and capture a few. That quickly faded as life got in the way. So roll forward to Sunday afternoon with an open schedule. I knew the Milky Way would be up around 8pm so I started planning accordingly.

My decision came down to two choices, head to the high country of Sedona but be faced with looking back towards the Phoenix lights or head south to Tucson and get southeast of the city so I wouldn’t be looking at any city lights. The risk of going to Tucson was the possibility of clouds rolling in late in the evening. Since I had photographed the Milky Way in Sedona, I opted for choice number two and headed south. As I approached Tucson I could see clouds coming in from the east and slowly moving south. Ugh! This wasn’t supposed to happen until later. Mother Nature wasn’t playing fair.

The Milky Way shines above Picacho Peak in the Arizona desert.

As the cloud cover began to build I decided to give up and turn back towards Phoenix. My disappointment soon turned to second guessing my decision. “I should have gone to Sedona. Worst case if clouds rolled in there too, I could still photograph the red rocks. Dumb decision Chris”. It went on and on as I drove north on Interstate 10. When I arrived at Picacho Peak I decided to exit off and shoot a few shots to see what I could get. I had driven this far so might as well try something. The downside would be having the Tucson city lights behind the peak.

After setting up I began to grab few test shots and could see that the Milky Way was there and the cloud cover wasn’t horrible. Far from ideal, but I would take it. With the clouds rolling by I knew my hopes of catching a stray Perseids meteor were gone. Or so I thought. As I was wrapping up I checked one of my images closely and could see I had caught the Perseids and the Milky Way. Woohoo!

I packed up as the mosquitoes were starting to come in droves and made my way back to Phoenix. The remaining part of the trip was much better than the first half. Knowing I had something to show for my effort went a long way. 🙂

Until next time…

These prints available at my gallery

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