Stars, Lions, and Bears

Colorado is heaven on earth for a photographer.  Often the heart simply cannot comprehend the beauty and the vastness the eye sees through the lens.  The endless dark sky is just one of the landscapes that can take a lifetime to contemplate.

Tuesday night seemed to offer the best window of opportunity to capture a portion of that endless dark sky canvas.   The Iceman and I went scouting for a good place to set up.  In the Midwest, when you scout for a nighttime shoot, the wildlife you might encounter includes mosquitoes, a few birds, opossums, racoons, maybe a stray coyote.  In Colorado, the wildlife you might encounter includes mountain lions and bears! It’s wise to be aware they are there and you are in their house.  It certainly adds a level of complexity and preparation to a night shoot, to choose a good location, to be safe, and also give space and respect to the wildlife.

Finally, the time came.  Countless stars were sparkling like diamonds generously sprinkled across a black velvet canvas.  They stretched as far as the eye can see, all the way down to the horizon.  The galactic core of the Milky Way Galaxy began rising in the sky.  The Iceman was on “lion watch”, watching over me and our surroundings while I concentrated on my camera and took photos.   The Sheps sat in the truck like two happy kids.  Their heads were framed by the open windows as they enjoyed (and sniffed) the cool midnight breeze. The Iceman called them our “early warning system”. 🙂

I took a lot of photos, different exposures, different compositions, but there was still a lot of downtime as I waited for the core to rise higher in the sky just so I could begin the process again.  The only light came from the stars themselves and the soft glow of the red-light headlamp I wear.  Other than our whispered words to each other, there was simply no sound at all.  Total silence.  Total stillness.  Simple star light, no sounds, no distractions, no stress.  We were just wrapped up in the quiet beauty of God’s creation.

I would have been happy to take photos until sunrise, but two hours later, we decided to call it a night, or, rather, by that time a really early morning. 

I was grateful for the still, quiet time under the stars, the time to contemplate the Almighty God that created them, the opportunity to try to capture even a little bit of their beauty.  I was also very grateful no lions or bears decided to join our party!

But, mostly, as I stood there under the stars, the words that whispered across my heart were these: “Be still and know that I am God.” 

As I stood there under His magnificent display, I was grateful that he is God and I am his.

“He says, ‘Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’  The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

Sons of Korah, Psalm 46:10-11 (NIV)

“Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?  He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name.  Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”

Isaiah 40:26 (NIV)


  1. This is one of the most amazing pictures I’ve seen. I feel the majesty, beauty and wonder of creation. You my friend, captured one of my bucket list items perfectly. I love your writing as well – and yes, I feel the Power of God “Be Still and know that I am God” – thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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