While rafting five days on the Salmon River in Idaho, the first night camping in the Frank Church Wilderness was on a meadow above the river. With a dry, clear night forecast, I set up the tripod next to my sleeping bag and set an alarm for when the moon would set and the night sky would be its darkest.
With the tripod and camera ready, I just focused and shot away at the Milky Way in the northeastern sky without needing to get out of my sleeping bag.
When the sun rose, some clouds moved in and were a nice subject for a time lapse in the early morning light. (This is the first time I've tried to embed video in the blog. Hope it works. You may need to click on the arrow. Sorry, but YouTube might try to take to you to some other video after mine plays.)
The next night, the campsite was along the river with a view downriver and to the west. The river is the dividing line of Pacific and Mountain time zones, so this image was taken about 10:15 p.m., but it was only 9:15 on the other side. My watch uses GPS and was very confused. The moon was still up and its light covering most of the stars, though Jupiter was along side the moon and you can see it shining through to the right of the moon. I set my alarm for moonset and let the sounds of the river put me to sleep.
I woke and was stunned by the sight in the dark sky. The Milky Way was glowing, but more amazing, Mars had risen. Though I've seen the planet in dark skies before, never had the planet been so bright and so red. (Unfortunately, the camera sensor was set for the dimmer stars and the red wave length was too bright to record. However, you can see the red color in the planet's reflection on the river.) When I returned home, I read that Mars was in "opposition" to Earth meaning Earth was between Mars and the Sun, and Mars was closer to Earth than it had been since 2003. It glowed 10 times brighter than usual. Adding to the event, Mars is having huge dust storms and reflects redder than normal. I was mesmerized watching it move across the dark sky and its reflection dance along the river as meteors flew about. When the Sun started lighting the sky, it was time to get back to sleep.