Friday, August 8, 2014

Dark Adirondack Skies, Incredible Celestial Views

I'm never so profoundly stirred by photography as I am when shooting the night landscape.  It's unbelievably beautiful.  I recently led my Photographing the Night Landscape workshop in the central Adirondacks, a 4-day & night event which combines comprehensive state-of-the-art classroom instruction with night shooting sessions.  I covered how to shoot the stars, planets, northern lights, meteors, and night weather, how to process night images, and how to create star trails, time intervals and time lapse movies.

One evening we walked to the darkening shore of a quiet lake.  As night fell a regal panorama materialized, with stars, several planets and the Milky Way, which arched across the heavens bright as clouds.  All were reflected on the water.  Several of us concurred: if we didn't even record any images, just witnessing the celestial majesty was inspiring enough.  But we were there to shoot time lapse sequences.  They would turn out beautiful and, as always, surprising.  They recorded the Milky Way rising in the southeast then climbing high in the sky as it slid west, towering over an iconic island with an osprey nest atop a pine tree.  Earth's atmosphere put on a show: small clouds formed, colored by the distant lights of a village, then quickly dissipated.  The stars streamed across the water.  Eventually a bank of fog descended, obscuring the night vistas for good.

At Raquette Lake, we captured cobalt blues in the early night sky, mirrored in Brown's Tract Inlet.  Lightning lit the northern horizon, and rain finally chased us off.

There is so much to shoot at night — different types of weather, different atmospherics and celestial phenomena.  If you'd like to learn the wide range of techniques for capturing them come explore with me.  I'll be leading more night shooting sessions at each of my upcoming API fall workshops.  Click here for the schedule.