Regarding COVID-19: Please recreate responsibly and practice social distancing. Closures and travel restrictions are changing rapidly, always check and respect local regulations.

Learning to capture my favorite moment in the outdoors

My quest in learning night photography

One of my favorite things about camping is the period of time between the sun setting and the stars magically beginning to appear in the clear night sky. I wait in anticipation as one by one they begin to shine. My eyes constantly searching the dark sky for the Big Dipper, one of the many highlights of camping for me.

I grew up in northern Minnesota and I remember when I was young, my dad would wake my brother and I up in the middle of the night to tell us that the northern lights were visible and that we need to go outside to see them. Drearily, we would get dressed and pile in the Ford Bronco, and drive three miles to Pincushion Mountain. Our dad would bring a few blankets and we all would climb on top the hood of the truck, and watch the green light dance across the sky. I've always been fascinated by the northern lights and feel fortunate for every opportunity I have had to experience them.

Six months ago I received my first camera, a Nikon N65 and the process of teaching myself photography began. I’ve slowly been bringing my camera along on all my adventures and it has now progressed into a new passion of mine. I have started dabbling in long exposures with rivers and streams, but my goal is to eventually achieve long exposures with the northern lights, milky way, and big dipper.

The feeling I get when sitting around a fire, while gazing up at the stars as they emerge is indescribable. I become consumed with an absolute sense of happiness and appreciation for the beautiful world and the vast unknown around me.

As of today, I am moving closer to that goal. I just came home with my first DSLR camera, a Nikon D5600! I am very excited to begin the process of night photography and learning to capture some of my favorite moments in the outdoors.

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!

Kalli Hawkins

Adventure | Conservation | Education