Sitting atop Mount Petosukura in Saipan, stands a lonely tower; rich in history but nearly forgotten. The Pacific Barrier Radar III, commonly known as PACBAR III, is surrounded by dense foliage and abandoned buildings that are slowly being reclaimed by the jungle. The tower was first used by the Air Force on a floating radar station located on the USNS General H.H. Arnold. When the ship was decommissioned, the tower was salvaged and placed on Saipan to help the United States monitor Soviet Union missile launches and satellites. A few years after its completion the Cold War came to and end and so the use of this small base and PACBAR III. With each passing year, nature threatens to reduce the tower to rubble. Either the never-ending humidity and rainfall causing it to rust and chip away will take it, or it will eventually be taken over by the jungle reclaiming its territory. Regardless of nature’s efforts to tear the tower down, there it stands at the end of a tight, curvy road for people to come see and wonder with amazement just how it ended up there, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on a mountain, on a small island.
This was my second time on Saipan and I loved it even more then the first. I had only heard of the tower a week prior to my trip, when another photographer, visiting Guam from Saipan, told me about it. I had to check it out! First, I had to make it to Saipan though. The doctors did not recommend flying after 34 weeks pregnant. At the time, I was 35 weeks and right on the cusp of the airlines cutoff to fly. I actually flew back on the cutoff date. oops! Well I decided to chance it and I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity to get back to Saipan especially since I would be able to shoot the Milky Way this time. I had a great time exploring more of the island with friends, eating amazing food and meeting some awesome locals. The baby stayed put and I made it home safely. I am glad I listened to my gut and was able to get out and capture the Milky Way there. It was magical, but the stars always are for me.
| The Making of STARRY PACBAR III |
| Camera | Nikon D750 | • | Lens | Sigma Art 35mm 1.4 | • | Tripod | Induro |
| Planning | Photopills | • | Editing | Lightroom + Photoshop |
| Settings | f/3.2 | 10 seconds | ISO 1600 |