For my second composition of the morning, I ran down to the edge of Lake Michigan and set my tripod up in the cold water. I made sure to have the tallest parts of the old jetties high enough in my viewfinder to break the horizon line of the photograph. I knew this would help tie my foreground elements to my background, which in turn would make my photograph look and feel more three-dimensional. I used my remote shutter release and my iPhone for a stopwatch. Based on the exposure I used to make "Northern Lights Dream" earlier, I calculated that I needed about 18 minutes for my shutter speed. With that long of a shutter speed, I knew the stars would spin in a circle around the North Star. I could see with my eye this fat white beam of light that appeared to be coming from the ground and aiming directly at the North Star. You can see it pretty clearly in the photograph. I have no idea what was causing that beam of light, but it sure makes my composition a whole lot cooler. My dad could even see it five miles south of me as he was photographing from near the end of the Ludington South Breakwater. I made this image at 2:45 a.m. F5.6 at 18 minutes 5 seconds, ISO 200, 18-50mm lens at 18mm

Jetty Lights

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