Invisible sunset

The light left behind

A night sky photographer, I’m not, but on a recent trip to Big Bend National Park, I finally experienced a very dark, clear sky and tried my hand at capturing a magical moment. After a long day of exploring the park and enjoying the sunset, my husband and I decided to stay out late to see just how wonderful the stars would look in an area without light pollution. The evenings previous had been cloudy, even stormy, but this night offered a clear and perfect sky for stargazing. At close to 10:00 p.m., we backed the motorcycle up on a side street from the main park road and turned off all the lights. We removed our helmets and stood in the middle of the road, gazing up at the sky in awe. The stars were like a million diamonds surrounding us. No cars passed by, and no light could be seen in the sky except for the stars. I set up my tripod and camera to attempt to capture the moment. To my joy and amazement, the long exposure brought out a tiny bit of orange left behind from the sunset—a sunset that had long since fallen past the horizon, revealing its beauty to the next time zone.

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