Bright Stars at Beaver Reservoir

pine trees under the stars

The Pic: Bright Stars at Beaver Reservoir

I present to you the final star photo my camping trip last weekend. This is my favorite one from the lot but I can’t figure exactly why. Having the trees lit up was a fun experiment but I seem to prefer the photos in which they are simply silhouettes.

If you are just finding me now, I decided to try my hand at photographing the stars for the first time last weekend and have been posting my results here over past few days. I know I still have a lot to learn about photographing the stars but I am very excited about the possibilities I am imagining from my limited experience so far. I am realizing more and more that a major theme of my photographic experience so far is the importance of experimentation. Every time I try some thing new, I learn a little bit more and it always births new ideas and possibilities. Don’t be afraid to experiment, you never know what you might learn!

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Three Trees and a Million Stars

three trees under a star filled night sky

The Pic: Three Trees and a Million Stars

I am a little late getting this post out today. Normally I write them ahead of time and schedule them to go up at 6:30AM for the day I want to post it. I guess I forgot to schedule this one.

My “painting with light” experiments continued as I moved around the forest, trying out different groups of trees and sections of the sky. For this photo I was slowly moving my light around these three trees for almost the entire 30sec exposure. It seems to give the trees a very strong blue color cast, but I was able to correct most of it in Lightroom.

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Night Glow

a tree illuminated under a starry sky

The Pic: NIght Glow

This is another shot I took this weekend. I decided that it might be interesting to try and use my flashlight to light up the tree so that it wasn’t just a silhouette. I slowly ran my flashlight up the tree in one smooth motion while the shutter was open to light it up like this. I have read about “painting” objects with a flashlight during long exposures at night but have never tried it before. It was pretty fun and yielded some very interesting results. I am excited to try more of this in the future.

You may be wondering where all of the yellow light at the bottom of the photo is coming from. I guess this is called “light pollution.”  It is basically the light from a nearby town bleeding out into the night sky. You can’t see it with your naked eye but when the camera shutter is open for so long it really picks it up. If you are too close to a town or city it can overtake the whole sky so that you cannot get a good photo of the stars at all.

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Under the Stars

stars and trees

The Pic: Under the Stars

This weekend I went camping with the family and decided to try my hand at some star/night photography. I meant to read up on shooting stars a little more before I left, but I ran out of time. I did remember from some previous reads that 30 seconds is really the longest exposure you can use, as much longer than that and your stars turn into streaks from the rotation of the earth. So I set my exposure time to 30 seconds and played around with my other setting to try to get a decent exposure of the stars. I quickly discovered that it is very difficult to get decent night sky photos as you really can’t tell exactly where you are aiming until after you have taken the photo. So it was a lot of trial and error to get a decent composition. The whole experience certainly left me longing for a wider lens. However I was able to come away with a couple of shots that I am happy with for my first time trying this type of photography and I will share those with you this week.

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Valley Haze

a hazy mountain valley

The Pic: Valley Haze

The fall is a great time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park for a couple of reasons. First, it is not as hot as during the summer. Second all of the aspens change to beautiful orange, red and yellow. Not to mention the park is full of elk, as they go into rut during the fall.

This is a photo I took while visiting the park in late September a couple of years ago. It is always fun for me to look back through older photos I have taken. Many times I discover little gems like this one.

I am headed up to the mountains this evening for some camping with my family.  Hopefully I will capture a couple more keepers over the weekend.

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Oregon Humidity

water droplets on green leaves

Justin was kind enough to let me do a guest post on his blog. Most of my posts have been in the ‘Unplugged’ category.

My landscape photography (both micro and macro) abilities are limited, but I am learning with every picture. This particular one was taken off the Oregon coast at the end of July. While on a reunion trip with some friends I worked on playing with the aperture setting to practice keeping pictures in sharper focus. This was taken on a trail that goes up Neahkahnie mountain. The hike was basically sea-level but harder than I thought because of the humidity. It was so humid there, as you can see in the picture, it was hard for this Colorado girl to get used to! Oregon was a beautiful place to visit and I hope to go back someday with more time.

Monhegan Island Sunset

A sunset over the Atlantic Ocean

The Pic: Monhegan Island Sunset

I would love to go back to island. It was such a beautiful place. I have already posted several photos of this sunset but it was changing so quickly and took on different characteristics from different points of view. For this image I tried a new method of creating the final image. In the end it contains much of the HDR image that came out of Photomatix and is made up more of the individual photos of the different exposures. This took much more time to merge and mask together in Photoshop as it was a very manual process. However I am very excited with the result and feel that i ended up with a superior final image using this method. It is always fun for me to experiment and try new ways of arriving at the final product. I always learn so much from doing this.

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