The Sky's the Limit!

As we launch our fall fundraising campaign, the sky's the limit for how your gift can impact our community through music. In honor of "A Little Night Music" on November 9, ETSO Principal Trombone player Efrain Sain has donated five metal prints of his stunning photography of the night sky. One of them could be yours to take home!

For every $100 you contribute, you'll be entered into a benefit drawing for a chance to take home one of these five beautiful metal prints. The drawing will take place on the evening of November 9 so make sure you also have your tickets for "A Little Night Music!" Scroll down to read Efrain's commentary on each print. 

Prada Marfa
Location: West Texas, close to Valentine, TX
Date: May 2019

Photographer's Note: The Milky Way was shot with about an hour’s worth of 2:30 exposures. These were shot on a tracker, which follows the stars and helps me avoid blurred shots. These images were stacked into one image and then blended with the Prada “store.” The long exposures and the processing are what brings out the colors in the Milky Way. The stacking of the photos lowers the noise, which helps bring out the actual objects one is shooting. 

The Prada Marfa is neither a Prada store nor located in Marfa. It does, however, have real shoes donated by Miuccia Prada: all right -footed. This is perhaps artists Elmgreen and Dragset’s most well-known art installation. Since the installation is in the middle of nowhere, it is located where the light pollution is almost non-existent. Thus, the night skies are fantastic here. 

Raining Stars at Ft. Griffin
Location: Ft. Griffin State Historic Site (Texas)
Date: August 2019

Photographer's Note: These meteors were captured by setting the camera with an intervalometer to shoot long exposures throughout the night. I then blended all the exposures that had captured meteors. 

A meteor shower happens when the Earth passes through the debris trail of a comet. A lot of those particles enter our atmosphere and burn out as they fall into our atmosphere. Most of these particles, that create such wonderful beauty in their fiery descent, are about the size of a grain of sand. 

The peak of the Perseid meteor shower this year was at the same time as the full moon. That was unfortunate because the bright light of the moon makes it difficult to see any other celestial object well, including meteors. I shot this photo several nights before the peak, when there were still several hours in the early morning without the moon. By that time, in the early morning, most of the meteors were coming in from very high in the sky. Thus, I captured several meteors that seemed to be coming down vertically, like rain.

The building is the ruins of the administration building of the fort. The light behind it is what is left of the setting moon. 

Full Moon Eclipse and the Beehive Cluster
Location: Palo Pinto Mountains State Park (Texas)
Date: January 2019

Photographer's Note: I shot our Moon with a long telescopic lens at fairly quick exposures. I did this to avoid the blurring of the moon, which is moving. I bracketed the exposures, using different exposures settings so I could combine the best of them in processing. I shot the rest of the sky, including the Beehive star cluster below the Moon, on a tracker with 45 second exposures. I stacked the sky photos into one image and resized my final moon photo to put it where the moon should be in the sky.

The Moon is a very bright object and its light will overpower other objects in the sky, making it impossible to see many of the stars. This is especially true of the full Moon. However, during the totality phase of a full eclipse, the Moon’s light is much less powerful. One gets the rare chance to see a full Moon and everything else around it. Fortunately, during this eclipse, the Moon was close to an interesting celestial object, the Beehive Cluster.

The Moon turns color during the totality of an eclipse because the only light reaching it is the light of the Sun through the collective sunsets and sunrises around our Earth. 

Fly By - Manta Ray with Star Trails
Location: Hotel Nipton, CA on the edge of the Mojave National Preserve
Date: April 2019

Photographer's Note: These are star trails. As the Earth rotates, the stars seem to move in the sky. If one aims the camera to the heavens, keeps it still and shoots with longer exposures, it will capture this movement. Combine 6 hours of shooting throughout the night and one gets these brilliantly colored stripes, each one being a star. All the stars have different colors, depending on their temperature. The age of the star can determine its temperature. It is difficult to see when they are just little dots. However, when one captures it over time, the colors are easy to see. 

Manta Ray is an 1800 lb. sculpture of fused glass and steel that is 24 feet tall and 18 feet wide. Peter Hazel is the artist. This sculpture is located at Hotel Nipton, an off-beat, artsy hotel in the Mojave Desert. It was a great location from where I explored the great Mojave Desert this past spring. 

Lost on the Dunes
Location: Great Sand Dunes National Park Colorado
Date: August 2018

Photographer's Note: This was shot with an intervalometer for over 4 hours. They were long exposures of 20 seconds each. I stacked those exposures into one image to reduce noise. I was fortunate to capture a large fireball meteor in one of those frames. I blended that into the final image. 

This was last year’s Perseid meteor shower. It was ideal because the new moon (no moon) was about the same night as the peak of the Perseids. However, all of Texas was covered with clouds. I was able to get to Colorado where the forecast was for clear skies.

There is a lot in this photo: The Milky Way with the planet Saturn on the left and Jupiter on the right, a great fireball silently crashing down and on the sand dunes, on the right, is me with my headlamp. I did not mean to get into the photo, but I got lost on the dunes. It is easy to do at night. Ha! 

You won't want to miss "A Little Night Music" on November 9! This multi-media concert experience pairs hi-def imagery from NASA and astronomer-photographer Dr. José Francisco Salgado. Get your tickets now!

All images are Copyright of Efrain Sain and may not be reproduced. If you are interested in a particular print for purchase, please contact the ETSO office at 903-526-3876 ext. 4# or email 

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