Wild Weds. 38/52 Lady Boot Arch and the Milky Way

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I mentioned in last week’s post here  that my friends and I had ventured a bit further south while in the Eastern Sierras over Labor Day week-end. We went very nearly to the farthest southern end to the Alabama Hills Recreational Area.  If you’ve ever watched any old Western Cowboy movies you’ve seen this area. It’s rugged, rocky, and beautiful.

Also it’s remarkable in that the road to this area is also the road that is known as Mt. Whitney Portal.  One takes this road up to the staging area to begin your trek up Mt. Whitney which is the tallest mountain in the lower 48 of the United States.

There’s a very famous natural arch among photographer’s in the Alabama Hills Recreational Area that features a very nice view of Mt. Whitney. I was blessed and fortunate to photograph the arch called Mobius Arch back in 2012 just before sunrise. Mt. Whitney is framed by the arch in my image seen here.  Back then no one read my blog.  I am thankful for those of you who have found me since then!

For this trip I suggested a less famous, less photographed arch called Lady Boot Arch, or Boot Arch, or…it has a few other names if you do a search on the internet for it.  My friends were open to the idea so we scouted it in the afternoon before the shoot, and were happy with it so we went back to town for dinner then met near the arch before sunset for an evening of photography fun.  We had plenty of time to get our compositions in focus, and set up the lights to light up the arch and foreground rocks.  Laura brought her warm tea lights to light up the arch interior, and I had my trusty flash light with a gel to paint the rocks in the foreground. I’m not that skilled at light painting so, I passed my torch to Laura who does have the touch, and skill in that area.

Here’s the image I made that I like best. It’s a two frame composite image.  I processed the sky/milky way image from the raw file to look very close to how it looked that night, and blended it with an image of the foreground light painted to highlight the rock formations and lighted arch.  I was hoping to get one image that had both sky and foreground close enough to what I saw to be able to edit and develop that, but sadly I didn’t have one with the foreground just right. Which is why you light paint more than you think you need, and plan on blending frames if needed.  I’m chuffed ( read delighted! for those that don’t get British English slang) with the result. It was super fun to shoot, and I would do it again in a nano second!  I hope you like the tale, and image nearly as much as I had fun making it.

Lady Boot Arch

Some technical stuff… Mars is shining brightest in the sky on the left of the Boot and Milky Way, and in the dark lane of the Milky Way very near the left edge  directly across from Mars is Saturn shining bright, out of frame was Jupiter too, but I cropped it out in favor of a stronger composition.  Thank you Peter! He was the best teacher I ever had on cropping for the composition.  When I got all my frames uploaded I saw that this one had several meteors or shooting stars in the frame. One heading into the Milky Way from the left, and one beside Mars, and two lower and to the right of Mars. They’re faint but there!

Did I tell you how chuffed I was?

The sky is filled with billions of stars out here. It’s breath taking, and I can’t explain in words how amazing, awesome, as well as beautiful it is, and just, How. Small. I. Felt while viewing it, and how just as I know it while standing on top of mountain that God is real and there. He was here too.  This is my chapel, my cathedral, my Holy Place. This. THIS Feeds My SOUL.

It’s mid September now, so this is the last image I’ll be making of the Milky Way until next April or May. The Galactic Center…that wonderfully rich milky bit very close to the tip of Lady Boot Arch’s top is headed to the southern hemisphere now. It’s their turn to see the richest part of the arm of our galaxy.  I will miss it, and yearn for its return as I do every year.

I am behind with emails, and blogs again, and I’m afraid I’m going to be behind for a bit longer. I will catch up!

I hope you’re all having a lovely week.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 16mm f/2.8 fisheye lens| Hoodman Steel Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://circadianreflections.com/2012/01/12/sunrise-in-alabama-hills/

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Wild Wednesday 35/52 After Dark Plus 1

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This image is one I made last month while hanging out with girl-friends in the Eastern Sierras.  One of the ladies brought lights to light up the old ranch cabin, and do a bit of light painting.

I climbed into the cabin through a back window opening to put some little lights in the stone fireplace. The floor boards in the front room didn’t look strong enough to hold me, but the there was a good solid beam leading out the side door that I used to get out, and go back in later to collect the little lights from the fireplace.  The worst part was putting my hand in a spider’s web to place the lights in there, and again to get the lights out! EWWW!  That was my part. The other ladies placed  more lights around the house.

The smoke from the then newly burning Ferguson Fire was already filling the sky and lent some color to the clouds, and later there was lightning.  Cloud to Cloud lightning. That’s only kind we tend to see here.  That red/orange lighted part to the right of the cabin in the sky is the lightning.

The Old Cabin in Adobe Valley

I’ve been sitting on some news for what seems like forever… Baby Girl and the Handsome Surveyor are expecting!  They finally went public with the news so, I can share it too. Finally!  Here’s their Baby Announcement.  Isn’t it cute!

Haakma Baby Announcement

She’s due mid February 2019, and we have 3 more weeks to wait before they find out if it’s a boy or a girl.   #1 Grandson isn’t so sure he wants a baby brother or sister yet. 😊

Everything is going well, and the baby is looking and growing just as it should at this stage.  We’re pretty excited.

There must be something in the air. My niece is expecting too. She also just announced it to the public. She’s due a month after Baby Girl.   She is only 7 months older than Baby Girl, and now these babies will be close in age too.

I got behind reading emails, and blogs over the week-end but, I’ll catch up.

I hope you all are having a good week, and you have a great week-end. It’s one of the last ones of Summer! Can you believe it’s already going to be September?  This year is flying by!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 2018

Bottom image used with permission by Baby Girl.

more to come…

 

 

 

Wild Wednesday 27/52 Happy Independence Day!

©Copyright Deborah M. Zajac, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Independence Day in the United States is today. On July 4th families and friends will get together to celebrate this holiday. Plans are being set in motion for pick-up games of baseball, volleyball, or swimming. There will be picnics, and barbecues/grills will be fired up. Dads all over will be grilling hot dogs, and burgers, watermelons will be split, seed spitting contests will ensue, and the colors of the day will be Red, White, and Blue.

When the sun drops beyond the horizon the celebrating doesn’t stop. Countless cities and towns will put on a great show of fireworks, and many families and friends will be gathered in their favorite viewing spot to watch the show, and many of us want to photograph them.

4th of July Fireworks

Settings for image above: f/10, iso 200, 14seconds-DSLR lens 18-200mm on a tripod

With just about any camera you can photograph fireworks.  I’ll share some tips for  getting the most out of your  DSLR or compact camera.

If you have a compact or Point and Shoot you might have a “fireworks” scene mode that you can summon either on the dial, or in the menu. Adding + 1 or +2 to Exposure Compensation will give you a longer shutter speed to add more colors, and longer fireworks trails. Then find something to stabilize your camera.  Most likely your shutter speed will be slow so, to avoid any blur you’ll need to have a solid base for your camera that doesn’t move while the shutter is released. A tripod is best, but a table, rock, ledge, or car hood works in a pinch.

Be sure to turn your flash off!

Night mode with Exposure compensation set to +1 or +2 to slow down the shutter will work pretty good too.  If you don’t know how to set that you’ll need your user manual.

Fireworks at Disneyland

Settings image above: f/8, ISO 3200, 1/4s, 35mm f/2 lens. Holding my DSLR over my head and shooting.

Using a SmartPhone-  Video is the best way to shoot the fireworks when using a cell phone. You can grab stills from your video. If you shoot a Time-lapse using your cell phone use a tripod!

Using a DSLR:

You’ll need your tripod, I recommend a cable release, or remote release, and full manual settings.

If you want foreground select a wide angle lens. On a Full Frame camera 24mm to 35mm in portrait orientation should be wide enough.

If using a Crop Sensor camera something in the range of 16mm to 18mm would be equivalent.

In Manual Priority choose an Aperture of F/8 to F/11, ISO 200, and a shutter speed of 8 seconds- you many need longer or shorter depending on the speed of launches, but 8 seconds is a real good place to start.

If you want just the fireworks in the sky select a lens with a range of 70-200mm.  If you have a 24-120mm, or super zoom like an 18-200mm lens that may be all you need for the night.

Once you have your camera set up with the settings dialed in you’re ready for the first launch. If you got to your location early you can sit back and wait. I hope you’ve packed something to eat! 😀

Once the sun goes down get ready for some fun! But, first we need to pre focus. When you hear the very first Whhomp! of the firework launch  follow the  contrail trail and when the firework explodes focus on the firework, and press your shutter release, or back button focus button if that’s how you focus to lock that in, and depress the shutter to make the image! In all likelihood that image isn’t very good. That’s okay, you’re just finding the place where the fireworks will explode and focusing there.  Now lock your camera down so it’s aimed in that spot, and switch your focus mode to Manual Focus! When it gets dark it may be too hard for the camera/lens to lock focus and it will hunt. You don’t want that. So, by using that first firework to pre-focus on you should be good to go the rest of night in manual focus.

Fireworks_20130704_4470

Settings for the image above: f/10, ISO 200, +1 Exposure Comp, 10 sec. DSLR w/ 300mm lens on a tripod

I release my shutter at the sound of the launch whhomp! If your camera is finished before the firework explodes and it blossoms to its full glory increase your shutter speed a bit.  Or if the firework is finished before your camera is decrease your shutter speed.  It’s a balance of timing and settings.  Within the first few fireworks you should be able to find the sweet spot of settings then you can shoot and enjoy the show.

I am planning to photograph the fireworks tonight with some friends. I hope you get out with your camera too! 😊

I hope this helps and if it does please post some photos, and tell us about your experience on your blog or photo sharing site,  then please share link here in the comments so I and others can see your images too!

I hope all my friends in the USA have a Happy Independence Day!

Cameras Nikon D700, and D300s.

more to come…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wordless Wed. 51/52 S.F. Skyline from Treasure Is. (Christmastime!2 images)

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Christmas Lights San Francisco Skyline from Treasure Is

TransAmerica Bldg SF Christmas time

 

Nikon D810| Nikkor 50mm & 200-500mm @200mm| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

Wordless Wednesday 16/52 Moonlit Upper Yosemite Fall

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Upper Yosemite Fall by Moonlight

Nikon D700| Nikkor 24-70mm| Hoodman Digital Film\PS CC 2017

More to come…

 

After Dark…

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I went out with one of my photography groups to do a little night photography Saturday evening.

After the sun went down Middle Harbor Shoreline’s park security drove by announcing the park was closed it was time to leave so, several of us headed to another park that stayed opened a few hours longer.  This is one image I made while waiting for the Crescent Moon to sink lower into the city skyline.

Bay Bridge East Span Pedestrian Bicycle Path

What you’re looking at is the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Bridge East Span Pedestrian-Bicycle path in front, mid ground are the tops of the Bay Bridge, and behind that are the two new high rises in the process of being built. The tallest is the new Salesforce Tower. It will be the tallest building in San Francisco, and will be the second tallest building west of the Mississippi when complete.  At its completion it will stand 1,070 ft (326 m) tall and be the center piece of the Transbay Transit Center in downtown San Francisco.

The Wilshire Grand Center building located in Los Angeles is the tallest skyscraper in California.

The other skyscraper you see with cranes is going to be the new Transbay Tower…I think.

Someone let me know if I’m wrong please.

Over on the right by itself is the Trans America Building; a shining beacon in the night.

Nikon Df| Nikkor 80-200mm| Delkin Digital Film| PS CC2017

More to come…

Trailhead to the Stars

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last night I met Gordon, and some other friends in a Meet-Up group we’re in up on Mt. Tamilpias in Marin County to photograph the sunset, and then image the night sky.

There was an Astrology lecture in the Amphitheater so the park was open much later than it normally is which allowed us to stay late. YEAH! Normally the park closes a bit after sunset.

This is 74 frames stacked in PS CC 2015.5.

My settings were f2.2| 30seconds ea.| ISO 320| Manual Priority| Tripod|

Star Trails

4 planes, and one shooting star flew through the sky while I was imaging. I didn’t see the shooting star at the time as I was looking away helping a friend with her settings and intervalometer. I was thrilled to see I caught it on film though.

It was a lovely night, not windy, or cold, and the company was great!

Nikon Df| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| Delkin Digital Film

More to come…