The night sky appears to circle around Polaris, the North Star, in this time lapse image over Lake McDonald. But it's really the Earth's rotation that is creating the circular star trails.
Lake McDonald is a sacred area to traditional Kootenai. For generations the tribe gathered here each spring for the Bear Dance ceremony. The Kootenai name for the lake is "Yakilhaqwilnamki," which translates into "where people dance."
On a clear Montana night, the 70-million-year-old Chief, Ninaki (wife) and Papoose (baby) Mountains watch in silent reverence as the 13.6 billion-year-old Milky Way Galaxy floats past.
The winter Milky Way (left) and bright star, Vega (center) shine through the fog over Lake McDonald, balancing Comet Lovejoy (right) as it rises above Mt. Brown, in Glacier Park.
Behind the lens.
I spent four below-zero night trying to get this image before the fog, clouds and comet all cooperated. It was minus 9 degrees when I made this image at two o'clock in the morning - without my gloves!