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. 🙂

Hiking Long’s Peak: Redux

Hiking Long’s Peak:

A slideshow

So, I made a slideshow for the Long’s Peak hike, which I blogged about in laborious detail here:

I know some people appreciated the timelapse-slideshow I made of my Europe trip, so I decided to do the same to all the photos from the hike.  You can watch the video in HD on Vimeo, or in the embedded video below.

Long’s Peak: My First Fourteener from Justin Le on Vimeo.

In August of 2011, some friends and I attempted to hike Long’s Peak – one of the more well-known fourteeners in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. The journey is grueling, and reportedly perilous. Would we make it? Watch the video to find out!

I blogged and posted some photos of the hike a couple months ago (, but then I decided I’d put together a timelapse-style slideshow of the hike with all the photos I took. These photos were shot in raw, and were taken straight out of camera with no editing or cropping, and batch exported to jpeg.

Gear: Nikon D700, Nikon 20mm f/2.8, Sigma 24-60mm f/2.8

Song: Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

Hometown Stars…


Went home to visit the ‘rents today, and thought I’d take some star photos.  My hometown is about 20 minutes outside of Lansing, MI, (which is to say, 20 minutes into the boonies), so there is less light pollution than the city, but it’s not completely absent.  My buddy Andrew had sent me a shot of what I think is called a star field (correct me if I’m wrong), and I figured I’d give it a shot.  The sky was clear enough, but I definitely think it’d be better if I was further away from any large light sources polluting my sky and my photos. 🙂



My first attempt trying to capture star fields. All shot with my Nikon D700, and the Nikon 20mm f/2.8 at various settings on a tripod.  It was hard trying to set the camera in the dark as well as having to focus manually, so I might have some things I want to change for next time.



The Smith Avenue Bridge…

…At least, that’s what I assume it’s called. After leaving my friends’, Andrew & Carrie’s, wedding in Saint Paul, MN, I went straight instead of taking a left turn. I ended up going under this bridge, and started to turn around right after the bridge. I thought the lights on the bridge looked cool, so I decided to stop for a few photos of the bridge. Unfortunately, the old UV filter I have on the wide angle lens I like to use (the Nikon 20mm f/2.8) that came with the lens when I bought it used, was actually literally, old.  Anyway, the old “haze” filter left some haziness in the flare of the lights, so those didn’t turn out so great. But, here are a few others which turned out pretty good, I think, anyway.  Let me know what you think.

Meanwhile, I’ll probably start browsing for a new multicoat UV filter for my lens, or remember to remove it for those kind of shots.