Shining in the Darkness
Why were these peaks shinning in red in the darkness? Well, this was a question I asked myself when I accidentally captured such amazing phenomenon in the first time in my recent 2016 Patagonia expedition.
After the first time capture, I spent the final three weeks of my expedition journey to observe this phenomenon from different locations at different times in Los Glaciares National Park. By the end, I believed that I got good knowledge about this mysterious phenomenon.
I discovered that in a clear night, when the moon started to rise, through moonlight illumination, Fitz Roy peaks could be lighten up and shinning in red color, just like sunrise effect. However, such moonlight red mountain peaks were not always showed up, and the effect also varied significantly in terms of duration, intensity and appearing time.
Another interesting discovery was: it seemed that such phenomenon did not exist for other mountain peaks in the Park, such as Cerro Torre peaks.
This image was one of the four images I captured successfully such phenomenon during my 2016 Patagonia expedition. What made this image so special was that the Milky Way had been moving down enough towards the mountain peaks by the time that the Fitz Roy peaks were shining in red, so that I could capture the shining peaks and the Milky Way together within one frame at 14mm wide angle focal length. The foreground of this image was captured soon after the Milky Way shot.
The entire process of taking this image took me 15 hours from the beginning of arriving at this high location to the time of getting down the hill after sunrise.
According to the calculation, the chance of capturing the Milky Way and moonlight red peaks of Fitz Roy together would be very slim, probably less than 5 times throughout a calendar year in Los Glaciares National Park.