Taylor Franta's picture


I had the luxury of living in Grand Junction, Colorado for a year last year. While that is certainly not a lifetime by any means, it was long enough for me to comfortable call it home.

One of the aspects of the city that always interested me is the dividing line that is Highway 70. Most of the town was to the South of I-70 while to the North was a mostly barren desert. I wanted to really show that separation and so after weeks of brainstorming and planning I set my sights on hiking the most recognizable landmark around: Mount Garfield.

The shoot ended up being very complex and the editing even more so. I took a 7 row, 180 degree panorama across this scene at sunset to get interest in the sky and for proper exposure in the foreground. I waited a while and reshot the panorama to expose for the city lights. I reshot again at a much longer exposure in order to capture the car trails on the city.

Lastly, I wanted to really portray how isolated Grand Junction is. Yes, this Milky Way was shot from the same location on this same shoot. I set up my camera for the left most frame of the panorama and with my star tracker attached I took a several minute exposure. I panned over one frame and did the same so I had two frames with the Milky Way that I could blend in. Contrast was very lacking with the glow from GJ but with the PP i was able to give it some life.

Ultimately this shot serves the best reminder of a place I once called home. In it are the vineyards of Palisade, the bustle of downtown Grand Junction, the beautiful Book Cliffs surrounding the town, and most importantly the stars, which I spent much of my time admiring.

Photography is about eliciting memories and for me this one is tops.

24mm · f/3.5 · 6s · ISO 100
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Oh man. beside your awesome description, this is really a gorgeous artwork and the time and effort you gave to this blended frame.

Note: I like your description here and on the rest of your work :) , Keep it up Dear Taylor

This is awesome. With your description I really can feel what you want to express by your Image.

Stunning scene.

A gorgeous image. Alas, as the milky way and the sunset are unrealistic to be visible at the same time, I can't give five stars.

Spectacular concept -- very well executed.

Very cool and nice story to go with it. I'd just like to see a bit more of the left cliff there I think. While the milky way is a cool idea, it's kind of odd-looking in there, unless you were to blend that end of town into a darker "night version". Other than those things it's pretty stunning!