Photo of the Day Contest
Star Tales by Stephen Oachs
Friday, 4th January 2013

Star Tales

by Stephen Oachs

This ancient circular room is known as a Great Kiva, and it's one of the largest ever discovered. Kivas are built into the ground and are generally believed to be ceremonial centers for regional communities. This particular kiva is thought to possibly have had a wooden structured roof at one time, but it has long since weathered away over the centuries. The Pueblo, Anasazi and other Indian tribes of the desert Southwest four corners region were highly skilled at observing the night sky, much like the Egyptian and Mayan civilizations. The ancient tribes built their structures, including their kivas, around celestial patterns. This particular kiva is built perfectly aligned with Polaris (the North Star). In this one-hour exposure, the stars were forever captured dancing through the night sky as the earth rotated as it has through centuries past. With the full moon exactly overhead at 1:29 am, the kiva walls and floor were illuminated, providing an ethereal glimpse of what little remains of this once great and culturally important landmark.
Equipment: Canon 1DX
Stephen Oachs
Stephen W. Oachs is an award-winning photographer, successful entrepreneur and technology veteran who began his journey in photography the moment he picked up his first camera. Completely self-taught, Stephen's unique and distinctive style has earned him recognition as one of today's finest nature photographers. He was recognized in 2007 as wildlife photographer of the year by the National Wildlife Federation and was awarded best nature photographer in 2008 by National Geographic. Stephen has received many other awards and achievements. His work has graced the pages of such notable publications such as National Geographic, Popular Photography, Outdoor Photographer, National Wildlife Magazine and many others. In 2009 Stephen founded The Aperture Academy, a unique combination of fine art photography gallery in conjunction with classroom and workshop instruction. Students of the Aperture Academy recieve hands on instruction designed for their individual skill level which includes everything from learning to shoot in the field to digital post processing techniques. Whether trekking through the wilds of Alaska, enduring the raw challenges of nature or experiencing the thrill of life on the edge, Stephen captures rare and breathtaking moments of light and time. His exceptional eye is filtered only by his passion for life, deep affinity with nature and love of adventure.

Star Tales by Stephen Oachs was photo of the day on Friday, 4th January 2013. It is tagged . You can leave a comment below.


4th January 2013 at 2:40 am

Wonderful shot Stephen. Love your lens choice and presentation. Big congrats!

4th January 2013 at 4:32 am

Great capture Stephen. Really adds to the mystique of this sacred place.

4th January 2013 at 9:47 am

Awesome work =) Love the way the full moon has beautifully illuminated the landscape but hasn’t appeared in the shot! Good stuff

4th January 2013 at 10:07 am

love the way you have framed this, superb, thanks for sharing and congratulations

4th January 2013 at 11:17 am

this is a magnificent work!!….
now-a-days we see so many long-exposure shots that it has become also a cliche… the difference here is made by window frame, structure, moonlight illumination and a perfectly aligned sky…. tremendous work!!

Matt Harvey

4th January 2013 at 1:08 pm

Sweet as a nut.

4th January 2013 at 1:27 pm

Beautiful image Stephen and great timing to line everything up. I love seeing your work.

Dallys Eggett

4th January 2013 at 2:16 pm

Your shot is a work of art, somethng to aspire to.

Linda Roady

4th January 2013 at 3:32 pm

I love to point out that I am not a photographer, but love art. I realize what extremes you find necessary to bring your own ilk into your work.

Anne Egli

4th January 2013 at 5:42 pm

An incredible photo, and made even more meaningful by your explanation. Thanks for sharing, and for taking the time to write about it. Just a great shot!

4th January 2013 at 7:33 pm

A fantastic photo – thank you for the fascinating information about it as well.

E Mancuso

4th January 2013 at 9:07 pm

Absolutely love your Star Tales and commentary with it. I looked at your FB page, and have decided you are one fantastic photographer. Keep ‘em coming. Thanks.

5th January 2013 at 10:57 am

This is so cool; never seen anything like it before.


6th January 2013 at 7:34 pm

Fascinating! Thank you for sharing your awesome photo and the history.


7th January 2013 at 7:22 am

Great shot, very unusual. Is this at Chaco Canyon?


15th January 2013 at 6:47 am


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