Photographer Captures Sight of a Rare Comet That Only Appears Every 6,800 Years

Milky Way Over the Adirondack Mountains

Photographer Dan Zafra from Capture the Atlas is used to traveling to exotic locations to capture his imagery. But his latest weekend adventure took him to a new place that was a little closer to home—the Adirondack Mountains. Located in the northeastern part of New York state, this gorgeous landscape is known as one of the darkest parts of the East Coast. This made it the perfect weekend getaway for Zafra, who is known for his astrophotography.

To get the best view of the night skies, Zafra and his traveling companions spent several nights on Cascade Mountain. As one of the Adirondack High Peaks, the mountain gave them crystal clear views of the sky. Zafra took advantage of the moment and photographed the Milky Way over the picturesque environment. By using his star tracker, he was able to execute what he calls “the best Milky Way shot I've ever taken.”

The opportunity for astrophotography continued as Zafra was also in the area for the Neowise Comet viewing. This long period comet is known for being exceptionally bright, but it only comes around every 6,800 years. Luckily, Zafra's trip coincided with the week that Neowise was visible in the Northern Hemisphere and he took full advantage of the opportunity.

His image of the comet over Lake Placid shows the incredible brightness of Neowise. The photo, which resulted from five images taken at 50 mm, 10 seconds, and ISO 6400, is a beautiful panorama that shows how the village lights don't detract from the comet.

To round out the weekend, Zafra shared two more images that prove that the Adirondacks are spectacular at any time of day. One shows the golden light of dawn filtered through atmospheric clouds that dance across the treetops. The second showcases a sunset at Avalanche Lake, one of the more remote locations in the mountains. Here, Zafra is able to expertly frame the sky in the valley and reflect its warm colors in the still waters of the lake.

All told, his work proves that there's no shortage of exceptional locations to discover even if you're close to home.

Dan Zafra spent time in the Adirondack Mountains, where he was able to photograph the Milky Way and Neowise Comet.

Milky Way Over the Adirondack Mountains

Neowise Comet over Placid Lake

His other photos prove that this mountain range in upstate New York is just as inspiring by day.

Beautiful Light in the Adirondack Mountains

Sunset from Avalanche Lake in Upstate New York

Capture the Atlas: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Dan Zafra.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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