When it came time to photograph Comet Neowise, I knew that I had to do it in a way that merged my vision for the 2017 total solar eclipse with my project Space to Roam.’ To do so, I collaborated with my good friends Chris Klupenger & Taylor Gray. With less then a day before the comet became visible, we got to work searching for a location that met our requirements.

  1. The location we would photograph needed to appear ‘otherworldly’ and not have trees, water and other things that would detract from the overarching theme of space exploration.

  2. It was important to find somewhere with clear skies. With clouds covering much of the Pacific Northwest, it became a difficult task to accomplish.

  3. We needed a place for Chris to safely stand while wearing the astronaut suit that was photogenic and facing the proper direction to align with comet Neowise.

After several hours scouring Google Earth, astronomy apps and weather sites, we settled on a lava rock bed in Central Oregon and began driving hoping to reach it in time to scout during sunset. Thankfully, our research was successful and the comet aligned with the location & vision.

 

The following images are all single photos with absolutely no layer blending, compositing or heavy editing.

 

While I don’t dislike photographers who use blending techniques in their images, I wanted to challenge myself by creating what I envisioned with just my camera and not a computer. To compress the astronaut with the comet, moved far away from my subject and used a Sigma 150-600mm lens. The comet didn’t last very long before the sky became too bright but I ended up with these two images that I’m overall fairly happy with.

I hope you enjoy what I came up with!

Single Image: Shot on Canon 1DXII at f/7.1 with a 5s shutter at 600mm with ISO 8,000

Single Image: Shot on Canon 1DXII at f/5.6 with a 6s shutter at 250mm with ISO 8,000

A week later I went out and shot this Timelapse footage of Comet Neowise peacefully drifting over Mount Washington in Central Oregon before fading with the morning light.