Galactic Spill


The Milky Way spills into a cottonwood tree at the Quarai Ruins at the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument in New Mexico, creating Galactic Spill.


Galactic Spill celebrates the joy and the light of the endless stars above us. We gaze up into the heavens and beyond, staring at the countless stars that fill the infinite night sky. No matter where we look, we are always drawn to our galactic core, the Milky Way, and the infinity that we see in there.

Night by night the Milky Way advances and retreats in the sky, turning and wheeling throughout the year.

Galactic Spill captures one moment in time as the Milky Way spills into a cottonwood tree, lighting it up with all the light and joy of the Universe. There’s so much that the tree can’t contain it all. Some spills onto the ground before it, giving the grasses the same universal light.

The tree reaches and stretches to capture every last star it can, glowing brighter still. The stars spill into it, one by countless one, then spill out of it, one by countless one.

Plausible? Perhaps. I made this photograph at the Quarai Ruins, which is part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument in New Mexico. The Milky Way certainly does appear to spill into the tree.. This national monument is a dark sky location. Lights control is paramount in these locations.

I was given special permission to be there after dark and to light up the tree. It didn’t take long to set up and create Galactic Spill, keeping the park dark. It is truly incredible to stand in the dark and stare into the deep sky.

The more you look, the more stars you see. After a while, the sky glows brighter than you ever thought possible. After a while, you can see clearly, even though it is pitch black. Creating Galactic Spill is an incredible experience for me.

Another New Mexican Milky Way

You can also see the Milky Way in Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah’s Night.

Additional information


Matted Photograph, Finished Aluminum


12×12, 20×20, 8×8