One of my favorite areas of the sky to shoot at night is most definitely the ‘Big Dipper’. For one, it is one of the most recognizable groupings of stars. Plus it is essentially always in view for us in the norther hemisphere. I often use the two stars at the bottom of the “cup” to pinpoint the north star when setting up a star trail. I wasn’t sure if the clouds were going to cover up part of the big dipper when I took this shot, but I was pleasantly surprised to see them all shining through after the shutter had closed.
On a quick side note, I have to mention Imagenomic’s Noiseware software after processing this image. As you all know, you generate quite a bit of noise when shooting at higher ISO and longer shutter speeds, but I have yet to run across a program that takes care of luminous and color noise better than this software. Have been really happy with it.