These Awe-Inspiring Photographs Reveal The Wonders Of The Night Sky That Most People Never See

Photographer Ben Coffman might be based out of a thriving metropolis, Portland, but it's the natural wonder of the clear night sky that serves as his inspiration. As readily available as the night sky seems, Coffman explains why it's actually a fickle muse: "A great deal of the work involved in getting these photos is done in research," he says, "Any astronomer will tell you that seeing the night sky is hugely dependent upon moon phases, weather, and the amount of nearby light pollution. To see a really robust Milky Way, like what I often try to photograph, you really only have about four or five nights per month, and only about six months of the year. So I do a lot of research. And I put a lot of stock into weather reports and cloud-cover reports, which can make or break me." 

Fortunately, his hometown is within driving distance of some of the Pacific Northwest's most awe-inspiring places for nighttime photography and capturing the Milky Way. This type of image capturing, called astrophotography, is done with very long exposures in very low light, often leaving the shutter open for up to an hour. Coffman says that he has always been drawn to a dark aesthetic and nighttime photography lets him explore the beauty in this dark dramaticism. "To me, taking a landscape photo at night is like playing the song ‘Happy Birthday’ in a minor key," he explains, "The whole tone of the piece changes to something a little darker, a little sinister, and in the case of a landscape photograph, something a little more wild."

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

False Dusk and Falls, Oregon Coast

Palouse Falls, Washington

Oregon Coast


Aurora Borealis at Trillium Lake, Oregon

Milky Way Silhouette

Jefferson Park, Oregon

Abandoned House in Oregon

Venus and Jupiter rising, Crater Lake National Park

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach


Dalles Mountain Ranch, Washington

Lost Lake at Mount Hood

Yaquina Head Lighthouse, Oregon

Lyrid Meteor Shower at Crater Lake

Jefferson Park, Oregon

Credit: Twisted Sifter

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