Photographing the Milky Way in the Cederberg

Melkweg_2048

A week ago I got the opportunity to spend a long weekend in South Africa’s Cederberg Wilderness Area. While there, we enjoyed two cloudless nights, during which the stars were exceptionally bright. In fact, in this remote part of the world the stars are always exceptionally bright compared to the cities we may be used to.

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The Eiffel Tower at Night

Beacon

If you ever have the chance to visit Paris, one of the absolute highlights is, of course, the Eiffel Tower. Riding the elevator to the top is an experience in and of itself — as you fly through the Tower’s metallic skeleton, you start to see flashes of the city shrinking below you.  When you come to a stop (after stepping past the fifteen-foot tall gears that turn the elevator’s cable), the view you see is maddeningly beautiful.

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Night Photography in San Francisco Tonight

Bay Bridge at Night

I know it is a last minute announcement, but if anyone in San Francisco area is interested in joining me for night photography tonight, we will be meeting in the parking area of the Treasure Island at 7 PM. We will start at Bay Bridge, then head over to other places to photograph the city. I was hoping to meet for a photo walk this coming weekend, but my wife will be arriving on Friday and we already have plans for the weekend…

So if anyone is up for it, leave a comment below. If you want to exchange contact info, use the Contact Us form please. Looking forward for some fun tonight! And some have already asked me, but there is no fee/cost to come! Don’t forget to bring your photos for some critique, if you are open for that of course :)

I will be heading out to Yosemite tomorrow and will be back on Friday evening. If anyone wants to join me, I will drive – have space for 3 in my car. Planning to do some landscape photography and will do my best to help you out with your photography (for free of course!). Let me know if you are interested – hotel rates are very reasonable right now (got my room for $69 per night). I apologize for posting this so late and I hope to see you guys tonight!

Keeping The DSLR Handy

3 Windermere-Jetty

I have stated in a previous article that I probably will sell all my DSLR gear eventually, so rarely does it ever get used. Virtually all my work now is done with mirrorless m4/3 (Olympus EM-5). But I must admit to being glad that I brought my DSLR along with me to a recent trip to The Lake District and Scotland. And while I used my EM-5 for virtually the entire trip, canoeing on lakes and hiking up hills with it in a small camera bag, I knew the DSLR would be more effective at capturing the night sky. I was hoping at some point the skies would be clear enough for me to capture some stars, possibly even the Milky Way, and since I had my car bringing along extra gear was not an issue.

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How to Photograph the Milky Way

Arches Night Sky by Tom Redd

Many travel and landscape photographers, including myself, try to avoid shooting scenery with a clear blue sky. As much as we like seeing puffy or stormy clouds to spice up our photographs, we have no control over what the nature provides each day. Sometimes we get lucky and capture beautiful sunrises and sunsets with blood red skies, and other times we are stuck with a clear, boring sky. When I find myself in such a situation and I know that the next morning will be clear, I sometimes explore opportunities to photograph the stars and the Milky Way at night. I am sure you have been in situations where you got out at night in a remote location and saw an incredibly beautiful night sky with millions of stars shining right at you, with patches of stars in a “cloudy” formation that are a part of the Milky Way. If you do not know how to photograph the night sky and the Milky Way, this guide might help you in understanding the basics.

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Nikon D4s and Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4

Nikon D4s and Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Image Samples (4)

What do you do when you have two low-light kings, the Nikon D4s and the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4? You take them for a night shoot of course! After receiving both for some testing / reviews, I took off to photograph Denver downtown at night. It was way past the sunset time, so I knew that I would only have street lights to illuminate my subjects. Since the Zeiss Otus is an insanely sharp lens wide open, I set its aperture to f/1.4 and only changed it a couple of times during the night in order to increase depth of field and ISO. Interestingly, at such a large aperture, I found myself often shooting at pretty low ISO levels – generally under ISO 3200. So it was nice to be able to push my shutter speeds as high as 1/400 for freezing motion:

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Lightning Photography Tips for Beginners

Photographing Lightning_1

We had a very ambitious storm last night, and where there’s a storm, there’s often lightning. Nasim has a detailed article written on “How to Photograph Lightning”, so if you hear there’s a storm coming in your area and you want to grab some amazing shots of it, Nasim’s extensive article will help you be prepared from the start.

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How to Photograph a Lunar Eclipse

Total Lunar Eclipse of 2010

I intentionally waited on posting this article on how to photograph a lunar eclipse until it actually took place on 12/21/2010, because I wanted to document my experience and provide information on what challenges I had during the process of photographing this rare, but stunningly beautiful phenomenon. This was not my first time trying to photograph a lunar eclipse – I tried it once back in 2008, but the weather did not cooperate back then and I did not get any good pictures. My luck was much better this time and although the sky was not completely clear, I was still fortunate enough to capture the entire process, from full moon to total lunar eclipse, then back to full moon. The next lunar eclipse will occur in the summer of next year, so if you missed it this year, definitely try to get out and take some pictures, especially when the moon turns bloody red.

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