Yesterday, I was having trouble coming up with a title for this one, but today, it came much easier. That’s because my recent astro photos have several people around here wanting to take an astro workshop with me soon.
At some point, we all need a little help to get wherever it is we’re trying to go. I’ll let you in on a little secret. All of the talented photographers that I know have sought help at one time or another. That can be in the form of workshops, video tutorials, books, or good old fashioned discussion with their peers.
I often seek the opinion of my peers, and I’m always on the lookout for tutorials that I think I could benefit from. Knowing what you don’t know is an important thing in photography, and its equally important to know how to fill the gaps in your knowledge.
When I first got out of the car, I was disappointed because I thought there was a lot of haze in the sky. My photo buddy and I decided we should just do a few test shots, to see what showed up. Imagine our excitement, when that haze turned out to be the aurora. After our eyes adjusted to the dark, we could sort of make out the soft pinks. This far south, it’s pretty tough to see the lights with the naked eyes.
This was actually one of the first test shots I did. That means I didn’t set up the composition at all. I basically pointed the camera north and tried to keep the horizon level. It turns out the lights were the best during the test shots, so I decided to edit and share the colors.
The northern lights were visible last night, so I made my way up to Mt Ashland with another photographer. They were pretty awesome when we first arrived, then they faded a bit about an hour later. No problem! The milky way put on a show too.
I knew Oregon was a great spot for landscapes and waterfalls, but I had no idea the astrophotography could be so awesome too. I have quite a few interesting shots from the mountain, so I hope you’re ready to see some astro shots this week.
This is a 9 shot vertical pano taken with my Nikon D7000
Southern Oregon Stars shot with iPhone 5s
Lately, I’ve been in a creative rut. I haven’t been motivated to shoot, or edit anything new for a while. I was already starting to slide into a little bit of a rut, and then I got an infection that made me feel terrible and took away all my energy. Funny how feeling awful prevents you from being creative or productive.
Actually, its not that funny. I have things to do.
Last night, my girlfriend needed to go for a drive, and asked me to go along. I wasn’t feeling well, and had no idea where we were going, so I didn’t bother bringing my Nikon. Thats a rookie mistake, especially when I’ve been wanting to shoot the milky way lately. Well, we ended up driving out to applegate lake. I hadn’t been there at night before, and I was stunned at how dark the sky was. We could clearly see the milky way with our naked eyes. It was pretty amazing.
With the countless stars before me, I finally felt like shooting. Since the best camera is the one you have on you, I decided to try my luck with some iPhone astrophotography. I tried longexpo pro and slow shutter, but neither one gave me good results. I’m sure it was my fault, though. I was trying to do 15-30 second exposures. To say there was a bit of noise would be an understatement.
I ended up taking this photo with 645 pro because I wanted full control of the camera. Then, I did a quick edit in snapseed to brighten the stars a bit. No, its not the best photo, but I thought it was pretty cool that I could even get all these stars with a half second exposure on the iPhone.
After seeing the milky way last night, I’m tempted to sleep all day today and head out somewhere tonight with my Nikon.
We’ve received some great submissions for the painting with your camera challenge. Its not too late to participate yet. All you have to do is email me your image(s) at firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of Wednesday.
The photo above was created using the out of of focus on purpose technique. It’s not hard, but its not simple either. You have to try different focal lengths, to make sure you have enough detail, and maybe even try different apertures, depending on the bokeh. I used f8 for this particular shot.
I feel like I have a ton of new waterfall shots in my portfolio, since moving to Oregon. I’m definitely not complaining. It’s always awesome standing in front of large falls like Burney.
This is a 3 shot pano that I took with my Nikon. I merged the images in Lightroom 6, which I feel did a far superior job than Photoshop at merging the images. For some reason, photoshop wanted to slightly rotate and distort one of the images. Next, I made a few adjustments in photoshop to brighten the scene and bring back some color. The finishing touches were made by using Topaz impressions (van gogh preset) and reducing the opacity to somewhere around 40% to give the scene a subtle painterly feel.
Don’t forget, if you live in the Pacific Northwest, or northern California, I’m available for private workshops, where we can hunt waterfalls together, and I’ll teach you how to improve your photography.
Also, it’s not too late to join Shannon and I for our latest challenge, painting with your camera. Click here for details! We’ve already received some awesome submissions and can’t wait to see more.