Photograph Star Trails at Silver Lake

Silver Lake, Brighton - Search Nearby - Added by Bryony Richards

A beautiful, easily accessible lake, surrounded by mountains, with skies dark enough to see and photograph the Milky Way.

Silver Lake is one of the easiest, most accessible hikes in the Wasatch, located at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah, close to the ski resorts of Brighton and Solitude.

The lake is accessible all year; with a boardwalk or a well-signed path circling the lake through spring to fall. In the winter the lake become a frozen snowshoe and nordic skiing area.

A full hike around the lake takes about 30 minutes, with many vantage points along the boardwalk to make using a tripod even easier.

For Milky Way photos, start by find a good spot on the lake and angle you camera towards the south (to photograph the galactic core). At Silver Lake, due south happens to be looking towards the main area of Brighton Ski Resort.

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:

  • ISO1000 to ISO2000
  • Shutter speeds/exposure times: 12 to 20 seconds
  • Aperture: f/2.0 f/2.0 (stopped down from f/1.4)
  • Other settings of note: Evaluative metering, automatic white balance

For the panoramic Milky Way image featured, 16 images were taken rotating the camera at a stationary mark and subsequently stitched together. For each frame of the panoramic image, a Canon 5D Mark III with a Rokinon 24 mm (f/1.4) lens was used with the same following settings:

  • ISO1000
  • Shutter speeds/exposure times: 20 seconds
  • Aperture: f/2.0 (stopped down from f/1.4)
  • Other settings of note: Evaluative metering, automatic white balance

For the star trail photos featured, a Canon 5D mark iii with a Rokinon 24 mm lens was used to take 50 individual photographs using the following settings and stacked using Photoshop:

  • ISO2000
  • Shutter speed: 20 seconds
  • Aperture: f/2.0 (stopped down from f/1.4)
  • Other settings of note: Evaluative metering, automatic white balance
Distance

1 Miles RT

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Chillin, Photography, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Hiking

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Lake
Romantic
Scenic

Nearby Lodging

From $300/night

The Cliff Lodge

Sandy, Utah

Salt Lake City KOA

Salt Lake City, Utah

Springville / Provo KOA

Springville, Utah

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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