The Cévennes National Park is well renowned for its clean air and awesome skylines. In 2018, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) awarded the prestigious International Dark Sky Reserve label to the Cévennes National Park. It has since become the largest dark sky reserve in Europe.
The Cévennes is a magical place with many majestic landscapes, but one of my favorite places is the Chaos de Nîmes-le-Vieux on the Causse Méjean highland plateau. I love its varied limestone rock formations that resemble an ancient, ruined city. As time has worn on, erosion has shaped many of the rocks into sculpture-like forms. It is a place where I find myself surrounded by natural beauty, crisp clean air, and the smell of wild thyme. It is a place where time slows down to reveal a night sky untouched by light pollution like what the ancients must have seen. I wonder at the beauty so often hidden in the plain sight of modern life.
The best way I thought I could capture what I was experiencing and feeling was through using light painting with night sky photography. Having previously scouted-out this location where I found two ruined-shaped rocks that lined up with the Milky Way, I waited for a dark, clear night in October, when I could I bring to fruition the image I had previsualized. The timing was important because it would allow the Milky Way to pass between the rocks vertically and stretch overhead as if they reached out to infinity. Light-painting, star-stacking, and focus-stacking were all used to create this more than 180-degree VAST vertical panorama.