Brad Goldpaint is one of our absolute favorite photographers–his work has been featured multiple times at NASA, and you may also have seen his work in
National Geographic, Discover, Wired, and The Huffington Post. A former architecture student, Goldpaint started hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail, which ranges from the Mexican border in California up to British Columbia, in 2010, after the death of his mother. Along the way, he started getting serious about photography. “Outdoor photography soon became a daily ritual of documenting and communicating my experiences,” he says. And soon enough he was drawn to astrophotography. His best-known works are of the night sky over Crater Lake National Park and Sparks Lake, both in Oregon, where he captured the aurora borealis.
We reached out to Brad, and he was nice enough to send us a selection of some of his favorite photos, along with comments about why these photos are special to him. You can see more great astrophotography on
Click to launch the gallery.
Allure of Worlds
“The Arch in Allure of Worlds carries a significant symbolic impact just by standing there. But the desert archway has a mission greater than being visually affecting. Its shape and monumental size suggest movement through time and space, and invite inquiry into the complex, fascinating stories of human expansion. It typifies the spirit of those seeking new frontiers within the confines of earth.”
“A rare aurora appearance over Sparks Lake in Central Oregon.”
Beyond the Rim
“Crater Lake National Park, located high within the Cascade Mountains, provides visitors with knowledge and beauty the way her volcanic eruption produced lava 7,700 years ago—steadily flowing with periodic bursts of insight and wonder. Her indigenous allure aroused deeper exploration, so I detoured off the grid and slowly trudged into the forested abyss. Just beyond the icy caldera rim, America’s deepest lake mirrored the prodigy of the night and created a liquid snapshot of man versus nature.”
“It is easy to be admired when one remains inaccessible…and he who has not spent hours, days, or years with some [thing] he loves cannot know what happiness is, for he is unable to imagine a protracted miracle like this – one which makes out of ordinary sights and events the most enchanted existence.” –Andre Maurois
A shot of the eclipsed moon over Mount Shasta, in California’s Cascade Mountain range.
“Galileo’s Muse offers a surprising view, and captures the imagination of anyone who dreams of unlocking the secrets of nature. A breakthrough idea can come from where we least expect it, demonstrating one of the most powerful techniques of a creative mind. Using his internal rhythms of imagination, he found insight within humanistic roots of modern science, even when confronted by his own limitations.”
“I am becoming more and more aware of time and how it shapes and leaves its marks on the Earth. During a perfect clear and bright moment in this winter’s night, arose a glory without a single sound. In the stark still shadows of a February eve, I breathed in winter, inhaling the reverent sight.”
“The conjunction of Jupiter and Venus with zodiacal light and the arcing Milky Way.”
A day shot of the Three Sisters Mountains in the northern Cascades, in Oregon. But wait’ll you see what it looks like at night…
“The Milky Way setting behind the Three Sisters and with a lone Persied meteor.”
A gorgeous time-lapse shot of the night sky. Brad also sometimes does time-lapse videos: this is his latest, featuring a composition by Serge Essiambre.
The Mask and the Mirror
“Wilderness is the canvas on which we sketch ourselves, and society often reflects its nature. Therefore, a community more truly reveals what is concealed. For some, the mirror is the door through which the soul frees itself by passing. For others, the pursuit of personal excellence is likened to polishing the mirror of the soul. What is concealed and what is revealed? What is the mask and what the mirror?”