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Magnificent views of the Milky Way

Jonathan Woods writes: Sleep deprivation leads people to do crazy things. For Norwegian photographer Terje Sorgjerd, a week atop Spain's highest mountain with very little shuteye produced results that even he was surprised by.

Sorgjerd talked with us about the experience of capturing the images.

Terje Sorgjerd

The Milky Way is seen above, through a Saharan sandstorm.

Terje: As I set up to shoot a five-hour sequence of the milky way [above], I got hit by a large Saharan sandstorm. I took cover behind some rocks and eventually made it over to the camera only to find that it had captured some amazing pictures of the Milky Way through the sandstorm clouds.

Jonathan: What I find remarkable about these images is the way Terje is able to capture light without significant manipulations. The human eye has much greater latitude to see details cameras cannot. High Dynamic Range is a form of manipulation that enhances images. In the captions below, Terje is asserting that by not using HDR technology, he has not substantially manipulated these images.

It is also worth mentioning that a photographer who is skilled at his or her craft can make substantial improvements to images when, as Terje references below, making adjustments to the raw image.

Terje Sorgjerd

The sun rises off Mount Teide with views of Grand Canarya. Image shot using a Canon 5D Mark II with 16-35mm/2.8LII and 3-stop graduated neutral density filter to bring out the colors. No HDR or Photoshop. Only raw adjustment.

Terje: After a magnificent view of the Milky Way, it was time to move on to shooting sunrise and what a magical sunrise we got. In the distant background you can see the neighboring island of Grand Canarya.

Terje Sorgjerd

A valley on Mount Teide. No HDR or Photoshop. Only raw adjustment. The video frame is over twice the resolution.

Terje Sorgjerd

The sun sets on Mount Teide. Photographed with a Canon 5D MarkII with 16-35mm/2.8LII and 2-stop graduated ND filter. No HDR or Photoshop. Only raw adjustment.

Terje: As you hike around this island, you will notice how regular and precise the weather patterns really are. I noticed this spot with the clouds moving in a very nice pattern and decided to mark it off as a sunset spot the next day. An absolute marvelous sunset it was.

Norwegian photographer Terje Sorgjerd speaks with TODAY.com's Dara Brown about the stunning images of the Milky Way captured glittering in the night sky from Spain's highest mountain, El Teide.

Terje Sorgjerd

The milky way glows above photographer Terje Sorgjerd in a self portrait. The photo was a 30 second exposure shot through a 24mm/1.4 lens at ISO 2000. No HDR.

Terje: After seven days of hiking and shooting without sleep I was making my way down to the airport when I realized I did not have a single shot of myself and the Milky Way. This was the very last shot and the only one with myself in it. I am lit up by a macbookair screen hid about 10 meters away reflecting off a rock.

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Terje's website