The town of Red River at night, from up on the main ski run, looking north (Polaris, or the North Star, is the one nearest the center of the circle of star trails). I was up on the slope for more than 2 hours taking all the shots which went into this photo. My fear of the possibility of encountering a bear at night finally got the best of me and I decided to head back down to safety (I had been wanting much longer star trails than these, but would have needed more time for that). On my way down, I did indeed see a bear toward the bottom of the slope to our left,which happened to be exactly the direction I was walking. I quickly changed course and headed more to the right and safely got back into town.
As I was walking to the condominium we were staying in that night, there was a large SUV stopped at an intersection and the folks therein motioned me to come over. I saw that the SUV was filled with college-aged students, and they asked me if I had seen the TWO bears up on the slope. When I affirmed that I had seen one, they told me that they had been watching two of them up there (from the safety of their SUV), and they had been a bit concerned about the fellow coming down the slope (me).
I felt very fortunate to have gotten this shot to show to you. Somehow the fact that the star trails aren't as long as I wanted just didn't seem all that important once I had that little bit of bear information.
In case you are interested, I took 43 photos, ranging from 1/5 sec to 3 minutes to combine for this photo. The star trails show how far our Earth rotates in 17 minutes. Over 2 hours on the slope with at least 2 bears roaming around, and then a couple of hours getting all of this combined in Photoshop so that I can present to you this one picture. Can you recommend a good psychiatrist for me?