Night Photography at Brighton

Lake Mary Trail Head

Photograph the stars and explore the hills of Brighton Ski Resort.

Park at the main parking lot at Brighton Ski Resort and head up the hill (under the Majestic Lift is a good place to start). Hiking is generally easy, even with snow on the ground, due to compaction of the snowpack during the daytime. However, snowshoeing and skinning with skis can be a good alternative if there have been recent storms.

Approximately 0.5 miles up the slope, the stars will be visible 360 degrees, with little light pollution, and fantastic mountain scenery. From this vantage point you will be able to shoot both star trails northward (towards Guardsmans Pass) with the north star (Polaris) at the center and Milky Way photos pointing the camera towards the south (uphill). In the early spring the Milky Way will rise (between 1-3 am) over the trees to the east, creating a good vantage point for photography of the Milky Way arc.

For the single Milky Way images featured, a Canon 5D Mark III with a Rokinon 24 mm (f/1.4) lens was used, with the following settings:* ISO1600* Shutter speeds/exposure time: 20 seconds* Aperture: f/2.0 (stopped down from f/1.4)* Other settings: Evaluative metering, white balance of 3200

For the star trail images, a Canon 5D Mark III with a Rokinon 24 mm (f/1.4) lens was used to take between 30-50 frames (separate photos), with the following settings:* ISO1600* Shutter speeds/exposure time: 20 seconds* Aperture: f/2.0 (stopped down from f/1.4)* Other settings: Evaluative metering, white balance of 3200* Star trail photos were then staked in Photoshop

Pack List

  • DSLR camera
  • Wide angle lens (anything from a fisheye to a 35 mm works well
  • Tripod (the sturdier the better)
  • Remote
  • Red-light headlamp (so that you do not have to re-adjust to seeing in low-light after close-up work)
  • Warm clothing (the mountains are always cold at night!)
  • Be aware of local information, including any road closures, and early spring avalanche dangers.
  • Be aware that local wildlife often roam the lake and surrounding areas at night, especially after the ski resorts have closed and there is less traffic.
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RT Distance 1 Miles
Elevation Gain 500 Feet
Activities Photography, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Romantic
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Cold and Clear

I was up near Brighton recently as Fall was just getting settled. Beautiful place. It was super cold but the sky’s were super clear.


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