Big Bend National Park is a great place to shoot stars. The night is so clear and there are plenty of things to place in the foreground, including big mountain ranges.

Once you get the hang of it, night photography like this is fun and relatively easy.  Use a tripod, high ISO and fast aperture (like f/2.8 to f/4).  If you want pin-prick sharp stars, divide your focal length into 500 for the maximum number of seconds you can keep the shutter open before the earth’s movement make the stars blur. (i.e. for a 20mm lens, you can shoot for 25 seconds). If you want to create streaks in the sky, leave the shutter open longer. Here, I kept the shutter open over 6 minutes, and “painted” the foreground with light from my flashlight.

Stars and Chisos Mountains

Stars over the Chisos Mountains, Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA. Canon 1Dx. 19m. ISO 2000. f/4 @ 411 seconds. Foreground painted with LED flashlight with warming gel.