I love night photography on cold Shenandoah nights. I just discovered that I hate night videography on any night. It is impossible to film the beauty of the night skies, at least with the modest equipment that I have. I invite you to watch the making of video of the following two images anyway… I worked hard to take the video and hard again to make the video. It can be found here. But read on more!
The idea behind “The Hunter” was an epic shot of the Orion constellation above the fall trees and guard wall of Shenandoah National Park. Unfortunately the moon was out and while that helped light the ground it also helped add a gradient to the sky and washed out the brightness of the stars. This was expected but you never know quite how these things will photograph. “The Hunter” ended up being a single exposure at 24mm, 20 seconds at f/5.6 and ISO 6400. This exposure combo ended up giving me a nice mix of light in the sky, light on the foreground, and kept the stars mostly round.
The bright star center left is Sirius and lies 8.6 light years from earth, or roughly how far away the rest of the world felt that night in the park. Due to the moon being out and it being a cold night very few people were roaming around the park, I saw one inhabited car in the four hours of night shooting.
“Dreaming Tree” is an image I am quite happy with. It is a simple image with simple ideas, but I like it. The specs are 15mm, 10 seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 3200. The moon is over exposed but I quite like it. I usually have a problem with parts of my subject running off the edges but I really like it here, it just works. I think including the whole tree (which really was not an option already at 15mm as I was) would have lost the attention of the eye in the image. I think it would not have stood so loud and proud.
Shenandoah National Park is such a gem and just a two hour drive from my home in Maryland. I love visiting for a night shoot and then staying into the sunrise. Stay tuned for my next blog which will talk about the morning shoot and two images I am very excited to share!