Monday, May 22, 2017

Joshua Tree National Park - startrails by moonlight

Here’s the first startrail I setup for during our last trip out to JTNP while we were waiting for the MW to rise. We found some cool formations around the barker dam area. I shot the foreground at twilight and as we were waiting for the night to fall, the setting moon provided some great side light on the scene so I re-shot my foreground under the moonlight which added some nice shadows to give some extra depth to the shot. I then ran my lapse for the trails and combined them to what you see here. You can see previous water levels on some of the rocks towards the back. This park never disappoints and there is so much to explore here. I’m lucky to live fairly close to here and hope the park stays protected so that I can bring my kids here when they get older.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Montana De Oro stormy seascape sunset

Haven’t posted a seascape in a while so here’s one from my last trip out to Montana De Oro. I came out during a clearing storm and was treated to a very nice moody sky. I found some great foreground rocks and waited for a wave to roll through to snap this. Some cool rock formations out in this area, I’d highly recommend a visit. Nikon D750, Nikkor 14-24, f/14, 0.6 sec and 1/30 sec blended, ISO-100

Friday, May 12, 2017

Malibu fog and sun rays at sunset

This is the place to be when the marine layer rolls in. It was overcast at home and down at the Malibu beach level before I made the climb up, but as soon as I started climbing up Piuma I broke free and got to witness some amazing fog rolling down the Santa Monica Mountains. I’ve already been here a few times this year but this is probably the best I’ve seen. My trifecta here is the valley full of fog, rays piercing through the peaks, and a nice burn up top. This is pretty damn close, but I’ll be coming back here more during the gloom months to try and snag another. I went a tad wider here to catch the golden hour burn as well as the backlit tree tops to use in my foreground. I hiked up a little ways from the popular pull out to get a slightly different comp. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-120, f/11, ISO-100, multiple exposures manually blended.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Joshua Tree National Park startrails - Barker Dam

I’ve caught some decent MW reflections in bodies of water but never startrails so I was excited to dig into this one. The wind had died down a few hours after sunset so after shooting some other trails, I setup here to try our luck at capturing these reflections. Every now and then gusts of winds would come and disturb the still water, so we just ran our lapse and hoped for the wind to stay calm and luckily it did. The trailing reflections in the water are almost perfect. I made sure to frame in Polaris and the reflection of it as well. I should have positioned the camera slightly lower but still happy with how it came out. Was an awesome trip seeing the dam full of water as it has been pretty dry for the past few years. Nikon D750, Nikkor 14-24, foreground: f/4, 150 sec, ISO-3200, stars: 1 hour of f/2.8, 20 sec, ISO-6400 processed in StarStax. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Little People Big World

I always go into trips prepared with a ton of images in my head that I want to take. In the back of my mind I always know that conditions change and I have to be ready to adapt. But sometimes it’s the shots that I never expect to take that tend to stick out. We were in the meadow watching half dome dip in and out of the fog. When the sun broke through the clouds the valley floor would burn off mist and in this particular case it was right over the walkway across the meadow. I quickly changed lenses to my tele, bumped my ISO a little to freeze the people, and snapped a few. I absolutely love the scale here. Everything here is big, the waterfalls, the granite walls, even the trees, and I feel like this shot displays that aspect of this park. 

Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200, f/8, 1/100 sec, ISO-500

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Happy starwars day

May the 4th be with you.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Milky Way reflections from Barker Dam

Astrophotography is some of the hardest to both shoot and edit but seeing the final image is always worth it. Even before you click the shutter; it takes finding a dark location, hiking out/shooting at odd hours of the night, setting up your comp and trying to focus in the dark. As soon as we saw a good amount of water here, all other plans were scrapped and we spent all night here shooting startrails and the MW. We both knew this was the money comp, but it took all night for the MW to move into position for this shot. I composed my shot and took 4 shots for the rocks at f/4, ISO-4000, 120 secs which were mean stacked, then I walked over to the rocks with my lantern and shot another exposure at f/2.8, 20 sec, ISO-6400, then when the MW slotted into position I shot the last 3 exposures for the sky at f/2.8, 20 sec, ISO-10,000 and mean stacked them. Everything was then blended manually. It wasn’t the darkest of nights so I knew I needed to push the ISO to really bring out the reflections in the water. While somewhat faint, the motionless water provided some awesome reflections which in itself is so cool to see in the middle of the desert. As we walked back to the car, the pre-sunrise light started glowing on the horizon capping off an epic but exhausting night.