Back at the Ranch

Location: Mojave Desert, CA | Settings: F5.6 / ISO 50 / 703 seconds

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Here we are in the Mojave Desert around 10pm last night, it was 30 degrees outside, quite chilly for Southern California! This shot took almost 12 minutes to create using Night-Writer and color tips. 

In light of this location being so close to a main road, passing headlights were a constant concern. So I did what any long exposure photographer would do in this situation, I capped the lens every time a car drove by with it's high beams. You can see how many time I capped the lens by taking a closer look at the star trails:

lenscapping_DT.jpg

This technique is popular amongst advanced light-art photographers. If used creatively, it can result in some mind-bending imagery. Check out my friend Dana Maltby's work for an idea of what can be achieved by lens-capping and having another tripod handy. Here's another great creative set of len-swaps by James de Luna.

For more light-skeletons, check out the full collection below:

Sands of Time

Location: White Sands, NM / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F7.1, ISO 50, 547 seconds. Sky at F3.5, ISO 1600, 13 seconds.

White Sands New Mexico is a wonderful place to visit in person, it's not like most dunes on Earth. At around 275 square miles, White Sands is the largest gypsum dune field in the world.

White sand reflects light and can be seen as slightly peach, blue, or purple depending on what time of day you visit. 

Coral Pink Sand Dunes in Utah is a dune of a different color. Made of wind-swept Navajo Red Sandstone, grains of iron-tinted quartz give it the reddish color. Here's the meager contents of my wallet for color comparison:

coral sand dunes

One of the most interesting features to sand dunes is the patterns they can develop during strong winds.

Here are some unadulterated dunes on my last visit to Death Valley at the Mesquite Dunes:

For more incredible landscapes, check out my Nature Collection.

Zion Zebra

Location: Zion National Park, UT / Settings: (Composite of 2 images) Light art at F5.6, ISO 50, 319 seconds. Landscape at F2.8, ISO 1600, 15 seconds.

This image was an idea I've been thinking about for some time. I keep trying to think of animals that I haven't done already - Zebra was a big one on that list, and how perfect - Zion.

I thought it would have to be in black and white, but after visiting the location, I decided to do the Zebra in color instead. The natural lines were too great not to have contrasted in black and white! Happy with how this came together using the Night-Writer V.2 prototype. 

I blended two images together to create this image - a black and white of the landscape (high ISO, low F stop setting) along with the colorful Zebra light-painting (low ISO, high F stop setting). I feel like this creates a more visible 'balance of detail' contained within the image. For more info on this technique, visit the EDU page - it's addressed in Question number 5 at the bottom of the page.

composite

Astro Bandit and I went on a little hike during the day, scope out this incredible layers of earth:

Saw some autumn color in the wash. A nice change from the usual foliage in Los Angeles.

Check out other Light-Animals along with Printing options in the Gallery below: 

River Dance

Location: Los Angeles, CA / Settings: F6.3, ISO 100, 471 second exposure.

Gear used: Canon 6D, 24-70mm Lens, Manfrotto Tripod, Remote Shutter, and prototype Night-Writer.

The most important advice I have to give about water and light-painting is that you have to get in it to get the shot.. Do what you need to do, but realize you will be getting wet.

For this kind of photo, being in Los Angeles, and all the reasons that our river water is not as clean as say Denver's right next to the Rocky Mountains, I would recommend a pair of these black rubber boots if you plan a similar shot.

For less polluted waters, you can probably go with a black pair of water-shoes instead.

Check out my ever-growing collection of Light-Skeletons on the image link below:

Spectral Brontosaurus

Location: Big Sur, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F5.6, ISO 100, 230 seconds. Stars at F2.8, ISO 6400, 15 seconds.

Gear: Canon 6D24-70mm LensManfrotto 190x Tripod, Proto Night-Writer, and Remote shutter.

I had been to this location a few times before and knew about the interesting doorway at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, CA. After checking to see where the Milky Way's position would be around 10pm - I decided to try my luck for clear skies and another spectral dinosaur for my Light-Fossils series.

Luckily, the skies were very clear this night, and the Milky Way looked amazing behind the rock portal.

There were a few other photographers at the same spot, so I was able to make a few new friends and they were nice enough to let me take a few shots between their exposures. They gave me a few insightful pointers as I tried to create the rainbow dinosaur you see above. Longer tail here, more of a spine there, etc.

As fate would have it, one of the photographers - David, runs a Central Coast photography workshop called www.rainbowspirit.com - he was very knowledgeable about the Central Coast area and gave me a few tips on locations I visited the next day. Thank you David!

Here's a shot at Bixby Bridge - a California landmark seen in just about every car commercial.. This image makes me think of this familiar scene.

I'll end this post with a strange image I shot along the PCH heading North towards Bixby Bridge. The Moon is setting into the Pacific Ocean, illuminating a smokey orange horizon caused by the Tassajara Fire - a 1200 acre blaze near Monterey, CA.

Spectral Triceratops Passes Time

Location: Sedona, AZ / Settings: F.16, ISO 1600, 217 seconds

Gear: Canon 6DRokinon 14mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release, and Proto Night-Writer.

For this shot, I was trying to capture part of the landscape in Sedona from Schnebly Hill, but was having difficulty because of the clouds blocking the moonlight. 

I opted for a high ISO and high Fstop to achieve this look, I like the way a long-exposure can capture slow movements - you can start to see some patterns emerge in the way the clouds flow, like an upside-down river.

Similar posts:

Away Team

Location: Red Rock Canyon, CA / Settings: F8, ISO 100, 707 second exposure.

Info on how this shot was created:

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

At close to a 12 minute exposure, these spectral skeleton images are a tough card to play - so I usually do them last in a night's shoot. I think each color may evolve into a character.

Skelebuddies in the Fog

Location: Encinal Canyon - Malibu, CA / Settings: F8, ISO 100, 581 second exposure

Info on how this shot was created:

Gear: Canon 6D24-70mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release and Proto Light-pen.

This photo was all about taking advantage of the weather - I was driving through Encinal Canyon on a road that connects the Valley of Los Angeles to the Beaches of Malibu, when a dense fog appeared. Noting the opportunity, I pulled over to shoot one long exposure - a shot I had in mind for some time - rainbow light skeletons in a row.

For placement issues, I know I needed a lot of space - so I shot wide and hoped to capture some car trails - that's what the white streaking lights are (frame left). I started with the white skeleton and side-stepped about 3 feet for each other skeleton.. But soon realized I may have started a bit too far over once I got to the blue character. 

I did my best to place the last two purple and pink skeletons left of where I began with the white and I'm happy they didn't overlap - this was nearly a ten minute exposure.

If you'd like to see the full collection of light skeletons, check out the Shiny Bones Gallery.

Rainbow Plesiosaur

Location: Torrey Pines State Beach - San Diego, CA / Settings: F5.6, ISO 200, 292 second exposure.

This is a bit different from my other light-fossil work, this is the first one where I've used the full color spectrum.

The reason behind this is that I've been working on a new light-pen tool with the help of a 3d printing space in LA to make a light-pen that can toggle through colors of the rainbow with the click of your thumb as you draw - without changing writing tools or fidgeting with awkward buttons.

There's a long road ahead toward the goldilocks model of this tool, but it's well on it's way and you can start to see some of it's progress here. Very excited to share more about this project soon.