Moonrise in the Bisti by Mitchell Tillison

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The Bisti is a 45,000 acre National Wilderness that is an ancient seabed and is now full of hoodoos, striated rock formations, petrified wood and dinosaur bones, and other examples of tortured geography of the most surreal sort. The Bisti is located in Northwest New Mexico, near the Four Corners town of Farmington.

On this occasion, six of us hiked in to the Bisti just before sundown, on the night of the full moon. We packed in a scant two miles, but the undulating and unforgiving landscape (and the frequent photo breaks) made it seem much further. Along the way, we encountered another group of Bisti chroniclers led by Carole Devillers, frequent contributor to National Geographic magazine and one-time guide for Jacques Cousteau.

Pentax K20D, 1/3 second @ F5.6, ISO 200, 160mm

Using a Scott Kelby technique, I shot the moon separately. Then, in Paint Shop Pro XII, I copied an adjustment layer and converted that to B&W and then to infrared. Then I reduced the opacity to let in a little color from the bottom layer.

Pentax K20D, 1/250 @ F8, ISO 200, 300mm.


  • Roddy Atkinson
    Roddy Atkinsonalmost 6 years ago

    Beautifully framed shot!

  • Thanks, Roddy!

    – Mitchell Tillison

  • PrairieRose
    PrairieRosealmost 6 years ago

    Marvelous capture indeed Mitch!!
    WOW, what a place……………. :))))

  • Thank you, Rosie!

    – Mitchell Tillison

  • CynLynn
    CynLynnalmost 6 years ago

    wow, wow, excellent shot!

  • Hi, Cindy. Thanks for stopping!

    – Mitchell Tillison

  • Jerri Johnson
    Jerri Johnsonalmost 6 years ago

    Wow is right! This is an extraordinary shot, Mitch. Needs to go to National Geographic….or maybe the White House… :~} I use Scott Kelby’s tutorials all the time…he’s my photoshop god.

  • Me too! I am always quoting him as “the authority” on anything to do with photography. Thanks for your comment, Jerri!

    – Mitchell Tillison

  • Kevin Bergen
    Kevin Bergenalmost 6 years ago

    Masterful, and really terrific! Fantastic effect you’ve produced here!

  • Thank you!

    – Mitchell Tillison

  • debbiez315
    debbiez315almost 6 years ago

    Absolutely Beautiful !


  • Thanks again, Deborah!

    – Mitchell Tillison

  • Tina Longwell
    Tina Longwellalmost 6 years ago

    Gorgeous shot Mitch!

  • Thank you!

    – Mitchell Tillison

  • lucin
    lucinalmost 6 years ago

    Ah, lovely thing. Nice positioning.

  • Thanks, Lucin!

    – Mitchell Tillison

  • Carla Jensen
    Carla Jensenalmost 6 years ago

    Wow !! what a beautiful capture…Mitch!!! I would say well worth the hike !! Stunning work wtg!!

  • Thank you, Carla. I have to say, I think the Bisti is up on me 2 and oh. We were there on a warm day in January and the snow melt turned the normally powdery but firm landscape into a treacherous slip-n-slide, and I fell twice and had many more near misses. This time around, my wife and I got disoriented during a night walk and wandered for 2 hours before finding the car park. Then I broke my tripod, to boot. But, I still love this place and can’t wait to return!

    – Mitchell Tillison

  • Eugenio
    Eugenioalmost 6 years ago

    :))) Absolutely beautiful !!!

  • Thanks, Eugenio! I appreciate your comments!

    – Mitchell Tillison

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