Tag Archives: Night Photography

Northern Lights

There exist websites that forecast the likelihood of seeing the northern lights.  Despite being in Alaska for a week last year where the prediction was occasionally high, I’ve never seen them.  On our second night at the lodge, the prediction was once again fairly good, so most of us set our alarms to wake up in the middle of the night and look for them.  And once again, my hopes were dashed.  My camera was all set up, so I decided to take some photos for star trails in the dark, clear night sky…

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The next night’s forecast was not as good, so we didn’t set any alarms.  However, I woke up and went to the bathroom about 1:30 AM, and decided to peek outside.  And there they were.  I took a couple of 20-second (ISO 800, f/5.6) exposures, then woke my friends before returning to my camera to take a handful more exposures.  A friend of mine staying in Denali (several hundred miles north) that week said they were wonderful up there.

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Summer Trip Epilogue

bristlecone_pineI’ve been back for a couple of weeks now from my trip to the Pacific Northwest. The return to my “normal” life was slow and arduous. I was so ready to turn around and escape again.

Don’t get me wrong; there’s a lot I like about my “normal” life. But there’s a lot I like about traveling and experiencing new places.

As I look back on the experience, the most meaningful parts of the trip were the beginning and end. I started my trip visiting my college friend Claire and her family. I ended my trip visiting my friend Tricia and her collection of Hood River friends.

Yosemite, the Eastern Sierra, and the Cascade Range are fabulous. But they don’t hold as much meaning to me as renewing and growing old friendships. So thank you, Claire and Trish, for being the bookends of a wonderful trip. I can’t wait to see you again.

I was inspired by the long hikes.

I was inspired by blue skies and mild temperatures.

I was inspired by the beauty of the nature around me.

I was inspired by the people I met along the journey.

I was inspired by the photos that came out of my cameras at the end of each day.

I was inspired by my friends around the world who followed me on this blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter.  I wish you could have come along.

Photographically, there were a few themes that really stand out about the trip…

  1. Mount_HoodWith each use, I grow more and more excited about the images coming out of my infrared camera.  (I had my Nikon D200 converted to infrared by Life Pixel.)  I’m pleased to announced that I’ve started making prints for sale directly from my Zenfolio Landscapes Gallery, and the first three images are all infrared photos from this trip.  I’ll be expanding this gallery in the coming weeks and months.
  2. windsurferI had a blast photographing the windsurfers on the Columbia River. It requires a lot of the same skills as bird photography. I flipped a few familiar settings on the camera, and I was ready to follow the action.
  3. Mikes_TreeI enjoyed learning about night photography from Michael Frye, Mike Osborne, and my fellow Ansel Adams Gallery workshop participants.

For those who care about equipment…

  • Nikon D200, converted to infrared by Life Pixel
  • Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens
  • Nikon D700
  • Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 lens
  • Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lens
  • Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 lens
  • Canon Vixia HF S100 High-Definition Camcorder
  • Sandisk Extreme III and Lexar Professional CompactFlash cards, Delkin SDHC cards
  • Domke F-1X Camera Bag, my favorite camera bag ever
  • REI Lookout 40 Daypack
  • Gitzo G1027 Mark II Mountaineer Carbon Fiber tripod
  • Bogen/Manfrotto 3221W tripod
  • Really Right Stuff BH-40 Ballhead

And for those who care about numbers…

  • 688 photos with the D700
  • 516 infrared photos with the D200
  • 15 still photos with the Canon Vixia, and about 45 minutes of video

Yes, that’s right, I really took two tripods, three camera bodies, and four lenses with me. They all got used. (One tripod is lightweight and small for hiking.  The other is sturdy and great for night photography and windsurfing photography.)

Thanks for reading this blog. I can’t wait to take you along again. More to come soon.

Summer Trip Day Nine, Yosemite and Berkeley

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Monday afternoon and evening, I did a one-day photo workshop with Michael Frye on night photography, through the Ansel Adams Gallery.  Assisting with this workshop was another great photographer, Mike Osborne.

I learned a lot, including how to do light painting with flashlights, as shown above.

I also played around with infrared night photography.  The image below shows a car driving by near Olmstead Point.  I kind of like the sweeping curve of the headlights through this image.

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This image of Half Dome from Olmstead Point was taken earlier, near dusk.

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I got back to Yosemite Lodge about 2 AM and was asleep a few minutes later.  It was a bit difficult, but I managed to get up early this morning to drive to Berkeley to visit a professor and a few students.  Tomorrow, I start my trip up north, eventually to Oregon.

Summer Trip Night Seven, Yosemite Falls at Night

Just wanted to post a couple of quick night shots.  The Yosemite Lodge is a few hundred yards from Yosemite Falls, so it was easy for me to walk over about midnight and try a few things.

These were taken with a Nikon D700 at ISO 800, with a 17-35mm f/2.8 lens at f/5.6, for about 3 minutes.  (Timed with my iPhone’s stopwatch.)

They look somewhat like daylight shots, except for the stars in the sky.

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