Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah’s Night


The Milky Way rises above the desolate red rocks in New Mexico’s Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Study Area. Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah’s Night is a stunning photograph.


The sun began its descent toward the horizon, hurrying as it went, and thus the transition from day to night began. It was quiet in the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Study Area in New Mexico, but this is usually the case. This particular wilderness is little known, little visited, and perfect for finding peace, tranquility, and solitude. And for making Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah’s Night.

Although best known for its hoodoos, it features much the same topology of its more famous cousin, the Bisti Badlands. Alone in the trackless maze of hoodoos, it is easy to become disorientated; as the sun leaves the sky, it is downright simple to lose your way.

The setting sun, though, brings up another fantastic sight—The Milky Way. Far from the lights of civilization, the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah wilderness boasts some truly dark skies. On a moonless night, you cannot see anything, not even your hand in front of your face. It is that dark.

The Milky Way shines clear and bright in those dark skies, and it takes your breath away. Also, in this photograph, there is a vertical streak just above the horizon to the right of center. This streak is a falling star—a meteor—that happened when I made this photograph. Don’t forget to make your wish!

More of the Milky Way in New Mexico

Galactic Spill also features the Milky Way, and makes an excellent companion piece.

Additional information


Matted Photograph, Finished Aluminum


12×12, 20×20, 8×8