Into The Light
Milky Way Rest. The Milky Way is leaping from Clouds Rest to Half Dome as seen from Olmstead Point, Yosemite National Park.
The Milky Way Fades in the Twilight as a portable light source (over) illuminates the famed Mc Way Fall.
Reign of Fire
Quick processing of a special spot. That's the Milky Way, of course and a waterfall in the Sierra mountains. That's all I'm sayin' for now!
Participants in the StarCircleAcademy field event in Alabama Hills cast shadows on one of the larger vertical fins in the wild landscape. This area is a frequent target for movies and car commercials because of the wild landscapes. Much fun was had by all. More images from workshop participants can be found here:
While out with the StarCircleAcademy group in the distance toward Nevada we watch distant lightning. Most of it was contained within the clouds, as this blast.
The large rock at the left seems to be pointing true north (that's Polaris above it). This is only about 20 1-minute exposures. The shadowy figure at the right is Eric Harness who was light painting the rocks near him.
This was an outing of the StarCircleAcademy.com in Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, California.
I expect the students will be posting their photos here: http://www.meetup.com/StarCircleAcademy/photos/16378342/ - when they get around to it, that is. Many of them will be with me at the Bristlecone Pine workshop which starts TODAY, August 1st.
The delicate little sand tufa formations remind me of the AT-AT Walkers from Star Wars. On the other hand, it sorta looks like the one on the left is the Millenium Falcon. What does your imagination conjure up here? This was an outing of the StarCircleAcademy. Can't wait to see what the students got here. This image is a two-image vertorama using light painting.
The large rock at the right seems to be veering away from true north (that's Polaris above it). This is about 30 1-minute exposures stacked in streak mode using Advanced Stacker PLUS.
This was an outing of the StarCircleAcademy.com in Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, California at a formation I call "Bat Towers" because of the many bats that circle around at night snatching bugs from the air. (See http://www.flickr.com/photos/9761798@N03/4672930716)
We are now in our second day of the Bristlecone Pine workshop. It's great up here. Will post those photos after we return!
It rained the first day we got to Alabama Hills. And the second, and the third. But there was a break in the rain just before sunset on the first day and I was able to capture a nine-image HDR panorama of one of the many roads through this surreal landscape... easily one of my favorite places to visit.
A heavenly little spot in the Sierras and only the light of the night provided the view in this 477 second shot. [C_217-8503]
This is where a bunch of us went on a StarCircleAcademy Field Event after a 4-day marathon photography expedition on White Mountain. Photos of the White Mountain/Bristlecone Pine event to follow, of course!
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The tree seems to be waving to the nice spacemen high above.
Smoke in the valley below is probably not an unusual occurrence in the life of this Bristlecone Pine Tree which has perhaps stood on this location for a thousand years. Nor would it be unusual for the tree to witness the passage of a million points of light above. But the passage of men in a thin walled tube hurtling 260 miles overhead in the heavens is a recent phenomenon.
This is a combination of two shots. One taken early in the evening, one later when the tree was painted with an LED flashlight reflected off of my hand to reduce the blue cast. Each image was 1250 ISO for 1 minute, f/2.8, 14mm.
NOTE: I've been light painting by bouncing light off of my shirt, pants or the ground before, but Jeff Sullivan used his hand and it's a great technique I've now appropriated from him. Thanks, Jeff!
About 35 images each 34 seconds taken with a 14mm Fish Eye running automation while I assisted students in the Bristlecone Pine Workshop and processed with the StarCircleAcademy Advanced Stacker PLUS in Long Streaks mode.
Each exposure was ISO2000, f/2.8 on a Canon 5D Mk II.
Here I've straightened and cropped the result. In my upcoming Webinar I will show how to remove the distraction of the red lights (headlamps) of students walking through the shot.... although I rather like those distractions here.
A few days ago I posted a photo of an Ancient Bristlecone Pine at sunrise, this is a close up of another. There is no processing of this photo, it's only been cropped and it reveals something of the character of these trees.
There are lots of interesting vistas in and around Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, California. Fortunately it is also nice and dark in this area so the appearance of the Milky Way is always pretty spectacular. Eric Harness and I did some scouting around for additional locations to shoot when we hold our next workshop here. This photo was taken after our last one, and just before we moved on to the Bristlecone Pine workshop which we also hope to do again! The foreground was lit with my Xenon flashlight. If I can offer a tip on how to light paint... don't stand at the camera. Paint at an angle for more pleasing textures and shadows. [C_210-738]
Eric Harness composes his own panorama while I snapped a single row, almost 360 degree sweep of the area. At the left is the glow of the town of Lone Pine. Coincidentally the place where the Milky Way kisses the rocks is also lit because it's the tallest part of the formation and is also lit by glow from Lone Pine. Lone Pine adds yet more "ambiance" by also lighting the distant Sierra Mountain range as can be seen up the road.
Since none of the photo sharing services do a good job with very wide panoramas, try not to only look at the "default" view.
This is a 12 image stitch using Microsoft ICE with post processing to bring up the level of the foreground and tone down the brightness of the sky that results from 40 second exposures at ISO 6400.
We captured this after a StarCircleAcademy expedition in Alabama Hills, California. It includes the same central region as my prior shot - though it does look like the stitching had a rough time in the scrub on the hill.
Steven (in shadow) attempts to hug Galen's Arch (also known as Mobius arch) in Alabama Hills. There as a strong rising moon, but the Milky Way was still visible. Steven did a very similar shot before - a moonlight shadow, but this one seemed a bit more interesting.
Another Oldie redone. This time using "Streaks" mode of Advanced Stacker PLUS. These photos were taken in June, 2010. Each exposure was ISO 800, 30 seconds. There is a significant amount of truck traffic along the highway - plus a fair bit of moon illuminating the foreground.
For the Advanced Stacker PLUS (a Photoshop plugin) please see here: http://AdvancedStackerPlus.com
The Milky Way over Alabama Hills with plenty of tall pointy things in view. The foreground was lit with my Xenon flashlight.
Exposure data: ISo 3200, 30 seconds, 16mm, f/2.8 , Canon 5D Mark II.
While this tree certainly hasn't outlived the stars, it most certainly outlived any of us. It's an Ancient Bristlecone Pine tree high above civilization in the Patriarch Grove on White Mountain, California. This is created from 103 30-second exposures. While I did capture a half dozen little meteors they are drown out by the star trails themselves... except for one Iridium flare, that is.
This was processed using "Fat Heads" mode of the Advanced Stacker PLUS after painfully removing many airplane and satellite trails.
I created this while demonstrating star trail techniques to my webinar students this evening. Not a lot of polish, but it was not difficult. This used 19 images. Each image was a 6 minute exposure at ISO 800, f/3.2 shot with a Canon 5D Mark II at 16mm. The images were taken in 2011 during our annual Bristlecone Pine Workshop. Each of the instructors has a tree unofficialy named in their honor. This is Eric's Tree.
I cloned out the unattended camera and tripod near one of the trees at the left.
This is the single shot that I used in yesterday's star trail as the foreground. It was taken at 10 pm, so it was plenty dark. but a six minute ISO 2500 exposure brought out details.
Clouds sweep in from the south and threaten to consume the Milky Way which glows brightly in this long (3 minute) exposure at ISO 2500. Some glow is visible from the town of Bishop (behind the twin trees).
I originally passed over this photo. The problem is that the light I used to illuminate the foreground was way too bright on the sand at the left. Some work with Lightroom and Photoshop to tone it down has made this salvagable. This was the first of many shots I took as twilight rapidly approached. Since it was the first, it was also the one with the most contrast in the sky.
Harold Davis likes this tree in Patriarch Grove on White Mountain, California. So do I. I rather like how the blue-ish LED light sets off the deep grain in these majestic and ancient trees.
Sunrise over Del Valle area, Livermore, California as taken with a 770mm focal length lens, that is a William Optics 110 FLT telescope paired with a 1.4x extender.
Tall formations in Alabama Hills seem to be sky gazing. This image was created using the "Stacking Method" for creating star trails, and in particular using the program "Advanced Stacker PLUS".
The original images were taken during the Alabama Hills Workshop in 2011. The workshop wasn't held in 2013, but will be held again in the Summer of 2014.
Each exposure was 236 seconds, ISO 250, f/5, at 16mm. There are some artifacts created from several causes. During the initial exposures where the rock formation was light painted the tripod was bumped so I had to manually align two images. The reason I had to manually align images was because one of the best light painting jobs blew out details on the middle formation. Subsequent painting included some bizarre colors and green laser graffiti so picking and choosing pieces from the light painting worked well (much like described in this video: NP150: Fixing Night Shot Problems).
Prior to our first Bristlecone Pine Workshop, Harold Davis and I did some scouting during what we hoped would be a clear enough path to get to Patriarch Grove on White Mountain. However the roads into the grove were impassible due to snow. We had to settle for a view like this. No complaint!
This is a stitch of about 18 overlapping images. Look carefully and you might spot 3 photographers in the photo. One is obvious, one a bit more subtle, and yet one more you only see their head.
Up at 3:00 am then driving for an hour and 15 minutes got me to a location where the sky was dark enough to see the Milky Way. Mind you this close to a city of over a Million people the view was not as spectacular as it would be, say at Alabama Hills or Outer Banks, North Carolina, but nonetheless it was there ready to greet me. You can see the glow of impending sunrise developing on the horizon. The huge white glob is the planet Venus. Below Venus you see reflected skylight in a small lake, and above that lake is an unidentified city.. possibly Livermore
The Bodie Lighthouse (pronounced BODY) at twilight.
This morning we had clearer skies than the first few days of the workshop. The sun rose near the Rodanthe Pier, conveniently, we are about a 100 yards away!
The Rodanthe Pier at sunrise. Gotta love that wave action. This was taken during the StarCircleAcademy.com LLC Outer Banks Workshop.
We had a LOT of lightning and thunder on the last night of the workshop in the Outer Banks. Couldn't have been a better bang (literally) of an ending to the event. This is the same pier I've posted before.
On the final night of the Outer Banks Workshop, it felt a bit like watching a live episode of "Mean Season" (without the murder, that is). Flashes of lightning everywhere cast light into the sky. Much of the lighting was only visible in the sky - not bolts. But boy were the clouds eerie looking, as in this photo.
As the storm was rolling out into the Atlantic ocean an orange ball of fire was leaping into the sky and thick smoke was rising from an area about 4 blocks away. Couldn't confirm it, but we believe the lightning set a building on fire.
Farther to the west there were several tornadoes that touched down.
The beach is one of the few spots you can safely sling burning steel, assuming you've made sure there are no combustibles, that you're well armed with sand water and buckets to put out any fires, and that the wind is blowing out to sea.
We're not advocating that you do this, just letting you know that it's probably a really BAD idea to do this in a dry cornfield, indoors, or anywhere that combustibles are nearby.
Here is a link you might find helpful:
Please do remember that playing with fire can get you burned... and worse.
This was our perch for the OBX Workshop (http://obxworkshop.com). That's not just the title of this photo, it's also the name of the home! We had a chef cooking 3 meals a day for us (Chef Jamie Pauls), and great views from our balconies and decks.
Want to rent this home? I can't say I blame you. Check out http://vrbo.com/408118 and tell them StarCircleAcademy sent you.
Want to hire the same chef? Check here: http://www.cafe111obx.com
We definitely can recommend Chef Pauls!
Will we repeat this event in the future? That's a strong possibility.... we do have an event coming up in June: http://alabamahillsworkshop.com
This is two shots combined. The left and right parts of the formation were separately light painted.