Neon Chameleon

Location: White Sands, NM / Settings: F9, ISO 50, 299 seconds

Blue hour is an incredible time for taking photos - the way the light transitions can yield interesting and unexpected results. It's the very tail end of a sunset - just before darkness.

I've composed a secret gallery with all my blue hour photos in one place so that you can see what those unexpected results might look like. Partially cloudy skies work best for a more dramatic sunset look.

So, what does it take to shoot something like this for yourself you ask? 

It takes being in the right location and waiting it out after the sun has set (bring a jacket!). After that, you have about a half hour to shoot while the light source is changing constantly, it's a tricky balance with a short window of opportunity. 

I recommend shooting at a high F-stop with low ISO for the beginning of blue hour, followed by incremental changes to your F-stop as the light transitions - a balance that you adjust as you go along.

Primary Goals

Location: Leo Carrillo Beach - Malibu, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light skeletons at F5.6, ISO 250, 165 seconds. Stars at F2.8, ISO 3200, 15 seconds.

Gear used: Canon 6D, 24-70mm Lens, Manfrotto Tripod, Wireless Remote, and Night-Writer light-pen w Red Yellow and Blue Color-tips.

For this image, I wanted to take advantage of a sunset that just happened - blue hour was giving way to night and the milky way was in the perfect spot.

It was an unusually hot night for the middle of October in Malibu, CA - 85 degrees at 9:30pm when we left the beach!

Check out the full light-skeleton collection by clicking the image below:

Circle of Life

Location: Lizard's Mouth - Santa Barbara, CA / Settings: F9, ISO 100, 137 seconds

Info on how this shot was created:

Gear: Canon 6D,  24-70mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release and gelled Night-Writer.

For the newest addition to my Skeletons gallery, I needed just the right spot - where could I find a 'pride rock' looking area?

Luckily, my sister lives fairly close to a popular bouldering area in Santa Barbara called Lizard's Mouth trail, leading up to a familiar-looking rock with a spectacular view of the California coast. It's a little less precarious as this similar viewpoint in San Diego that I used for my 'Where the Sidewalk Ends' post. 

Happy Trails

Location: Pacific Coast Valley - Big Sur, CA

happy trails

I can't do a place like this justice in photographs. 

a nice sunset

For these kind of moments you just have to experience it first-hand. 

pacific coast valley

Blue-hour at the Pacific Valley Bluff trail in Big Sur, CA.

coast valley at night

I hope some of these images will encourage you to take a long drive to somewhere you are curious about

Here's a link to the trail I took this images at.

Ultra-violence

Location: Badwater Basin - Death Valley, CA / Settings: F11 at ISO 100, 608 second exposure

Blue hour in Death Valley is a great time to photograph and I selected Badwater Basin for it's notoriously cracked and flat expansive surface. Because this area is basically a huge deep bowl, it gets incredibly hot in the summer and even in Winter when we were shooting it was around 90 degrees out!

This translates to: not good for camera sensors. I had a difficult time cleaning up some of the noise for this exposure that took nearly ten minutes to shoot. That said, I'm pretty stoked on this ultra-violent creation.