Taken back in October 2015, when I camped near Kalaloch Beach in Olympic National Park in Washington State on my Nikon D700, f/2.8 at 14mm.
There’s a lot of things I love about gifs, but one of the things is that it allows you to capture a passage of time that you just can’t with a static image. This is 5 shots, each 20 seconds, of the Milky Way as it moves through the sky over the pacific ocean, over about a period of 2 minutes.
I don’t know if I can say enough about the night sky. People often ask whether or not it actually looked like this. And it’s hard to say “well, not quite”. Sure with it being a long exposure, it captures the milky way a little more brilliantly than may be seen with the naked eye, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not actually the way it looks. There is so much of this scene that can’t be captured by just our eyes, or even captured by a photo.
Sometimes we just assume that only the things the rods and cones can detect are what is real, but there are parts of the spectrum that aren’t visible to us but are there nonetheless.
Anyway, I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here, except, yes, these photos are real, and they’re spectacular.
Hi all, thanks for waiting patiently by your computer, tablets or mobile devices for me to update my blog. I promise I am going to do right by you, and I will start posting more. And doing so regularly. (My doctor says that being regular is good.) Sometimes I feel like the words I write are just filler, but I like to think of it as fiber, which will help you digest each of the photos I post.
Just about all the photos I post are in JPEG format. It’s a lossy compressed image format, and is short for Joint Photographic Experts Group, who set the standard for this format first in 1992. In all that time, the format and compression have improved, but sometimes, when I want to share a photo, a JPEG just isn’t gonna cut it. It’s just lacking something. Sometimes, you don’t want a still photo to be so… still. Here enters the GIF.
GIFs have been around since the mid-80’s, and they haven’t always been very good quality, but it’s beautiful what you can do with them these days. I took two photos, and aligned them in photoshop to make this lil animation. One is a nice silhouette (a word which I still need to use spell checker for) of the hillside and an awesome road sign, while the other image captures the glow from a car passing by on the road above.
This is Cape Perpetua in Oregon. From my roadtrip in October. Oregon has so many beautiful oceanside campsites, it’s unfair. The reason I love these oceanside campsites are because 1) you can hear the waves as you drift off to sleep in your tent, b) you have an unobstructed view of the sunset and the milky way (when the weather is cooperative) and 3) you’re usually far away from light pollution.
Alright, thus ends this post. So, hopefully it’s not too long before my next post, but I appreciate you all waiting anyway!
Took this photo a month ago while camping in Glacier National Park. This is a still from a timelapse sequence I was shooting. I’ll be posting that video soon enough! In any case, I thought the lake and the reflection of the sky would be a nice foreground element, but with the water moving so much (the aptly named swift current), it does reduce the reflection quite a bit.
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.
Taken on Tuesday, September 30, 2014, while camping at Gold Bluffs Beach Campground (near Orick, CA, in the Redwoods National Park).
This is one of the frames I took while attempting a timelapse of the milky way over the ocean. Using an iphone app called The Photographer’s Ephemeris, I was able to plan ahead and figure out where and when the moon would be setting. I took a walk down the beach from my campsite to where I had eaten breakfast on a log earlier that day. That spot was key since it gave me a place to hang out while I waited for my timelapse to run, and I thought would be foreground for a few pictures. The key to nice milky way shots is to have really dark and clear skies. Which means, being far away from any city lights or any light pollution, no moon, and low humidity. Fortunately (or unfortunately), the weather was pretty warm, and humid, so the Milky Way was not super bright, but it was definitely there. (Ideally, it’s best when the weather is colder and the atmosphere can’t hold much moisture, but then you have to deal with battery issues, and trying to stay warm, but I digress.)
I’m pretty happy with this photo, but would have liked to have spent more time there, since I only had a few hours to work with. (I was only up until around 2am since the following morning I needed to pack up and leave my campsite before 8am so I could drive 9 hours to Fresno to meet up with my brother and sister.)
Also, here’s a photo of me setting up this photo: