As I climbed down into the cove, the plan was to capture the monolith in front of the milky way. Upon arrival, I decided that the rock on the other side of the frame also had great character and wanted it included in the image. Even at the extreme 12mm full-frame angle of view, keeping everything seen here in the frame meant my back was against the rock wall.
The milky way is typically photographed against a black sky.
However, if the sky is dark and the milky way is in view, it can be photographed at the end of the blue hour.
This image was captured about 7 minutes after "nautical end."
Despite a bit of light showing in the sky, it was very dark in the cove, and the f/2.8 aperture proved very helpful, keeping the ISO setting down to a still-high 8000.
This pic especially looks better big. A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.