Heard it through the grapevine

Location: Lompoc, CA / Settings: F7.1, ISO 100, 62 seconds

Info on how this shot was created:

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

This is a Light-Morsel shot I've had in mind for a while. As some of these images are location-specific pieces, they require appropriate backgrounds.

I saw an opportunity when visiting my sister in Santa Barbara this weekend, about an hour North of where she lives, there are many great vineyards.

The nearly full moon was bright enough to act as stage lighting for this particular shot - it cast a steady glow from far above, just left of my light-grapes.

For good measure, here's a link to the title track by Marvin Gaye

Watermelon on the Pier

Location: San Simeon, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F8, ISO 100, 30 seconds. Stars at F2.8, ISO 6400, 15 seconds.

Info on how this shot was created:

Gear: Canon 6DRokinon 14mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release and Night-Writer with Roscolux color-gels.

How does that saying go.. 'You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family.'

Let's apply that premise to light-art and say that you can choose your subject, but you can't choose the weather. That was the theme of our last trip up the California Coast - 2 days of partly clear skies and the rest, a cloudy mess. Happy to snap a few good ones during those clear hours, one of which you see here - the newest edition to the Light-Morsels gallery.

For more info on how to create your own light-art composites featuring the stars in your background - check out my cherries on top blog post!

 

Pineapple Express

Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA / Settings: F22, ISO 100, 27 seconds

Info on how this shot was created:

Gear: Canon 6D, CP2 50mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release and Night-Writer.

Last night I met up with fellow photographer Jake Ramirez (Sumerian Lights) for a bit of shooting downtown, I didn't know it would be a battle for the pineapple image you see above. 

contact sheet

20 photos later, the pineapple looked decent - It wasn't the easiest Light Morsel to draw.

Wakey Wakey

Location: Red Rock Canyon, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F8, ISO 100, 140 seconds. Stars at F3.2, ISO 1600, 15 seconds.

Info on how this shot was created:

Gear: Canon 6DRokinon 14mm LensManfrotto Tripod, and Remote Shutter-release.

What if I told you there's a place where the hillside looks like a giant strip of bacon?

arrival at bacon rock

If you're like me, you would think that bacon is not enough - It needs eggs! I hope you like them sunny-side up, I prefer mine over medium.. Here's Jordan (Astrobandit) patiently waiting in the car for her eggs to cook under a bright near-full moon.

You can check out my 'Light Morsels' gallery for other foods that are light on calories.

Cherries on top

Location: Anza Borrego, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F8, ISO 100, 91 seconds. Stars at F2.8, ISO 3200, 15 seconds.

As many of you may have noticed, I've been doing a lot of composite shots lately - the reasoning is simple - I want you to see the stars! Screw the trails, who cares about that? I want bright stars in the background! Galaxies, nebulas, constellations, meteors, I want them all crisp and clear! I didn't travel 3 hours by car to see dim skies!

A simple explanation of the technique I'm using is that I take 2 photos for every composite image you see, one for the light art, and another for the background. I don't move my camera from the tripod - I just take 2 for every one, making sure to re-focus from rather close to near infinity, it's basically a type of HDR for light-painting.. Which I think camera manufacturers are going to implement eventually, but for now it's a bit of camera-hack.

My method is to first find the most picturesque location, bearing in mind where the stars look best. To do this, I use my eyes first, then I confirm where the constellations are with an app I've recently acquired called 'Sky Guide' (iphone app) which uses your GPS to identify constellations.

After I've found my spot, and taken a high-ISO shot (around F2.8, ISO 3200 for 15 sec) - stars and environment should be pretty bright. Then I begin the light-art process - for this, my settings are around F8, ISO 100, for as many seconds as needed (use bulb mode!). If you've done this right, you should see decent light art and everything else should be rather dark. After you've got a decent take, re-focus for the stars, and reset your ISO to around 3200 (like before - during your initial test-shot). Get a bright and sharp star-shot then combine the two images in post.

With photoshop, start with the base light art, then put the star-shot on top and select 'lighten' on the top image to sandwich your two shots into one - presto! From Darius Twin to Starius Twin.  

starius twin

Milk with your Coffee?

Location: Joshua Tree, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F8, ISO 100, 40 seconds. Stars at F2.8, ISO 6400, 15 seconds.

The desert is a strange and beautiful place. It's harsh with extreme conditions like heat, cold, strong winds and venomous animals.

But there's another side to the desert that is peaceful, magic and spiritual - a place of wonder where you can feel insignificant in the best way possible.

Killer Cake

Location: Mt Pinos - Frazier Park, CA / Settings: F7.1, ISO 200, 153 second exposure

If driving into the mountains and hiking into the forest to freeze your ass off in the pale moonlight holding a machete and illustrating cake is your idea of a good time, then you are a prime candidate for light-painting photography! 

Just make sure to bring your long-underwear for that 38 degree 8800 ft altitude.

killer cake sketch

It always helps to sketch out the idea on paper before tackling it in real life. I was going to illustrate a regular cake, but making it a killer-cake just seemed like the right thing to do.

Ice cream

Location: Rincon Point - Ventura, CA / Settings: F5.6, ISO 100, 55 second exposure

I've been on a food kick lately.. But it's ok, these unhealthy foods are all very light on calories ;)

orange flame

Here's the view of the same location on the South side - If you've ever driven on the 101 from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara at night you're sure to see this giant orange flame on the side of the freeway coming from the oil refinery.