As majestic Mt. Shasta towered above the lake before me, I set up my tripod for an evening of long exposures and astrophotography. 

My dream was to create an image featuring the Milky Way rising above Mt. Shasta. It only took a few exposures to realize that the hazy band of stars and light was not aligned in the way I had hoped.

So, I snapped a few images of a reflecting Mt. Shasta with the stars above. Then, I focused the rest of my night’s astrophotography on the Milky Way itself.

When I shared the images on social media, I highlighted the portrait-orientation image of the Milky Way reflecting in the lake. However, I was never truly in love. It was a bit blurry and felt more like a consolation prize.

The Milky Way rises above Mt. Shasta, CA

It’s amazing how time changes your perspective.

For years, I ignored the below photo of a starry Mt. Shasta reflecting in a nearby lake … declaring it to be an outtake of my night’s shoot.

Then, a few days ago, something fascinating happened …

I fell in love with the outtake.

While preparing a Facebook post on the mysteries of the Universe,  I came across this photo of the stars above Mt. Shasta. No Milky Way – just a closeup of the sacred Apu.

Now, I’m in love with this photo!

What about you? Which one is YOUR favorite?