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.
Driving at night beholds the star lit sky above. I pulled over and scrambled up some boulders and watched the starry night sky pass before me. The only sounds, nature and maybe a car or two passing by.
Happy New Year!
Past few months (year) I felt like I lost some of my creativity or maybe more to the point it went into hibernation. I let my daily work life take over and it became mundane. Get up early, go to work, fix this, file that, eat, sleep, look forward to the weekend. BLAHHH! Then this past summer I created a few side projects for myself and I started making time for photography. I re-discovered that my creativity is exactly what I need on a daily basis. And I have to, ‘I get to’ – make time for it; just like I have to make time for lunch or dinner. Sometimes, there’s a plan and sometimes it happens on a whim but I gotta do it. Photography makes me happy, it makes others happy, seriously, just how did I forget how much fun being creative is?
I started reading articles by David duChemin about finding your vision. I’m on week 8, 9? and the articles are inspiring and has me thinking about my craft. He talks about concepts and studying other artists and i’m enthralled with each article. There are points that stick out better than others, like “What do you love enough to spend your short life, or your limited free time, photographing?”. That’s easy, nature, the mountains, the forest, hiking, dogs, flowers, rivers, the Milky Way (stars, not the candy bar), flowing water… oops, maybe it isn’t that easy to narrow your focus afterall.
One suggestion from duChemin is to to take fewer photos or more specific, “…consider making fewer final photographs. I want you to consider demanding more from each final frame and being choosier about what you show to the world.“. I take hundreds of photos, probably closer to a few 1000 within a year. So this year I will be “choosier” with my final product. The first article in the series recommends looking through the last year of my ‘work’ and added some questions to ask myself as I work through this process. “What commonalities do you see in the work? What themes repeat themselves? Which images do you love? Why?” Here are a dozen that I chose for this first post of the new year.
The obvious theme here is nature and California landscapes (if you recognize some of the locations). I honestly have to say that I enjoy all of these shots. So much so that these are featured in my annual calendar. But, for me what made these special was the adventure to get these photos. Some of these adventures were on a whim, some were planned out, google searched potential locations and a few were simple walks along places I’ve been to hundreds of times. I’m gonna work on ‘conveying the adventure’ part, more on that later.
I look forward to 2017 and what it holds in photos, in adventures and reigniting my creativity.My goal, publish something weekly, so 52 weeks of cool imagery that I hope inspires you as much as it did me. Oh and for the following weeks, less writing, it’s really not my forte.
thanks for stopping by!
I’ve been a MIA on WordPress for awhile now but will be back starting 2017! Here’s a sneak peak!
This week I pulled #15 from the Lightbox Photography Cards set. “This is a tough challenge, but it doesn’t have to be a big show. Go out and get some sparklers, a tripod and a remote release and experiment till your heart’s content.” I pulled this card and thought, “where am I gonna get fireworks, it’s August?!? and ‘sparklers’ are definitely out of the question in bone-dry California.” Instead, I went with Nature’s Fireworks. It was the annual Perseid Meteor Showers and found my opportunity in the night sky last week.
Heading out for another backpacking trip in the Tahoe Basin today. Here are some shots from last month’s trip around Tahoe 🙂 Stayed at Round Lake a couple of nights. It’s an easy hike that meanders through a large meadow and ends at an alpine lake. Beautiful sunrises, sunsets and so many stars that you fall asleep if you try to count them the all. All made better with great company. Got to get out more 🙂