Night Trails

A couple of nights ago I decided to head up to Guanella Pass, one of my favorite areas. It’s about a 45-minute drive from my home, at an elevation of 11,600 feet above timberline; it has stunning views of Mt. Bierstadt, the Sawtooth and surrounding peaks and valleys. My goal was to shoot a few night photos as practice for our upcoming trip back to the Cheyenne River reservation. My Siberian husky, Kai, and I had the entire pass area to ourselves, and it was a gorgeous night with clear skies… perfect for what I had in mind.

Yesterday I began to process the images and came up with a decent first draft of a star trail image. I was excited about how it looked, so I decided to post it to my Facebook page. Encouraged by the responses I received, I decided to post it to my 500px account as well.

I absolutely love 500px.com; seeing so many stunning images by so many talented photographers is a constant source of inspiration to me. The layout and functionality are outstanding, and images are easily found through keywords. And, it allows me to easily follow photographers whose work I admire.

After I posted the image at 5 p.m., I left for drinks with Wonderful Machine‘s Kayleen and Craig and most of Colorado’s WM photographers. Checking my phone afterward, I saw that I had received 75 emails regarding the image. By 10 p.m. the image had been selected for the Editor’s Choice gallery, for which only about 0.03 percent of all images are chosen.

By 9 a.m. today, I’d received several hundred emails and notifications of people voting on the image or selecting it as a favorite. In the last 16 hours, it was viewed by nearly 5,000 people.

Social media is a fantastic tool for photographers. It helps us find inspiration, it connects us with colleagues all over the world, and it allows us to share our work and get instant feedback on what resonates with people and what doesn’t. And then sometimes, quite surprisingly, an image will sort of go viral unexpectedly…

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