In 2020 I had to find a new way to create due to restrictions and an over abundance of caution due to the global pandemic. I have this curiosity for night photography and I think I’ve hone my craft over the past year due to the fact; 1) you have to go out late 2) most the time you’re by yourself in the dark. What night photography has taught me, patience and planning.
It’s pretty easy to look up in the sky at night and think, “Oh wow, full moon is out!” and run inside and grab your set-up and start shooting. Over the course of the past year, I’ve gotten better at the quick set-up in the dark but man, it can be cold in the winter. Now, I try to plan ahead and note the moon phases or when the Milky Way will rise. I have my layers, headlamp, heat source and camera gear ready.
Patience is taking shot after shot of the object in the sky. Readjusting to align the camera with the moving night sky and taking more shots, checking the photo, adjust, reposition, click at least 50-100 times. After you think you’ve got your shots, there is the post processing. For this image, I stacked 60 photos into this one photo with photoshop. I’m no Adobe suite expert but photoshop’s “Automate” tool will do a decent job of stacking. The finishing touches are added in Lightroom.
Last week, I scrambled down to the East shore of Lake Tahoe to a spot known as Bonsai Rock. While I was taking photos, I noticed the setting moon nicely centered from my spot on the shore. I used my headlamp to brighten the water below me and the boulders in the water.
Woke up this morning to the moon setting and Jupiter still visible just before dawn in San Francisco. Admittedly, not my best shot, I ran out of the house with the wrong lens and a low battery. But, I did enjoy watching the moon set below the horizon and all the people that pulled over to do the same. A person out for the their morning jog, just stopped and said, “WOW!”