Supermoonar Eclipse in Montana

A little over a week ago, I spent some time out visiting my brother in Montana. I got to check out a bunch of awesome festivities at the school he works at, attend a powwow, and help take some photos at the cross country meet he organized. During that time, there was a supermoon, and a lunar eclipse happening. Pretty awesome stuff, but conditions weren’t super great for viewing, as it was cloudy out as the moon was rising, so we missed out on seeing the supermoon at it’s biggest… when it’s near the horizon. So, with that, I set up my cameras to take some timelapses as the moon came up and went through the eclipse.

Since I’ve been roadtripping, I didn’t have the gear with me that I really wanted to shoot the moon… a 300mm lens with a teleconverter, so I was stuck with just using what I had (aww, poor me…). Anyway, I did learn a few things through this process…

  • The lunar eclipse is hard to shoot and have a very balanced image with the bright part of the moon, and the eclipsed part of the moon properly exposed. So kudos to those who did it super well.
  • When shooting timelapse with a long lens, you have to shoot at a different frequency, as the motion of the moon (rotation of the earth) is more exaggerated due to the longer focal length.
  • And, contrary to milky way photos, you are probably better off shooting somewhere bright, like in the city, so as to match the moon’s brightness more, and create a more dynamic image (instead of just the moon on a black background, you could have the moon against a lit up city skyline).
  • You’ll probably want a super long focal length and a subject far away to exaggerate the size of the moon in comparison to the subject.

Anyway, those are some of my takeaway thoughts on this process. The final-ish product is below… Take a looksee and tell me what you think. (And hopefully, that’s the only time I ever use the word “looksee” on my blog.)

Also, consider watching on the vimeo site for the HD quality version.

Happy Thanksgiving from Ashland, Montana!

Happy Thanksgiving From the Top of the World!


Which is apparently, Ashland, Montana…

This year, I am thankful to be able to spend my Thanksgiving with my brother and my oldest sister in Ashland, Montana (which is about 2 hrs away from Billings, and far away from just about anywhere else in the US).  We were looking to get out and shoot some more photos tonight, but it ended up being under cloud cover, so here I am, updating my blog.



All Along the Water Tower…

A couple years ago, I came to visit my brother, and he took me up to this water tower during the day, and I thought it’d be a good spot to take photos. So, my brother took me back here, and we shot some photos. I set up my camera for a timelapse, which I will hopefully be sharing sometime when I get back home, but here’s one of the shots below.


Hopefully you area all having a wonderful time with family and friends! And maybe taking some wonderful photographs!

Stars over Montanny

Nikon D700, 20mm f/2.8, 451s at f/13, ISO 100

Winter Roadtrip Photography…

It took 13 hrs to get from the Twin Cities to get to Ashland, Montana to visit my brother.  I had just gone out to Minnesota to go to Lutsen, MN for an annual snowboarding/ski trip with my group of friends in Minnesota, so I figured 13 hrs is much closer than the 24 hours it would have taken from Michigan.  Fortunately for me, this winter has been unusually mild, and so with no snow anywhere to be seen from Minnesota, through North Dakota, and into Montana, the drive was relatively easy.

Star Trails…

The optimal time to do star trail photos is if you are far away from civilization.  The amount of light pollution you get from being near lots of city lights makes it harder for you to see and capture the stars through the atmosphere.  Luckily for me, my brother is teaching on an Native American reservation far away from civilization and big city lights.  The nearest big city would be Billings, which is about 2 hrs away by car.  It was almost a full moon out, so I couldn’t really get any photos of the milky way, but what’s nice is that the moon lights the landscape, so as long as it’s a relatively still night (so you don’t have too many things moving, and being all blurry like bigfoot), then it works out pretty nice.  Things turned out pretty good.  I made adjustments on Lightroom, and only photoshopped out some power lines using content-aware fill, which worked well enough.

Anyway, enough talk, here are some photos:

Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.4D, 601s at f/16, ISO 200.

Overlook Saint Labre: Nikon D700, 20mm f/2.8, 20s at f/8.0, ISO 2500

The JV House: Nikon D700, 20mm f/2.8, 20s at f/8.0, ISO 2500

Also, feel free to leave any questions or comments below. 🙂