|The idea for this image first came when I was color
correcting and enhancing the image of the summer Milky Way you see in
the background. The colors I was able to bring out from the scan of the
negative made me think of using Mars as the foreground element.
After searching several NASA on-line archives, I came across the hemispherical view you see here, only the image had much less contrast and was colored more like light sand than the red planet I always imagined. It was also awash in JPEG artifacts which had to be cleaned up before the color correction and lighting effects could be applied. In all, I must have spent about 5 hours working on the planet image before adding the background.
The Milky Way image was photographed on the morning of March 10th, 1997 from Los Alamos Lake State Park, Arizona while waiting for Comet Hale-Bopp to rise. The film used was un-hypered Kodak 1000 speed medium format color negative film, and the camera was a Mamiya RB67 with 90mm lens set to f/4. Exposure was about 10 minutes while the camera rode piggyback on a Celestron CG-11 telescope.