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 Weds. 37/52 The Night was Still and Full of Stars

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Over Labor Day week-end myself and several friends were back in the Eastern Sierras. I love it over there. This time we ventured further south.

We spent our evenings photographing the stars.  This image I made on our last night there.

Windmill Eastern Sierras

I caught a shooting star above Mars, and Saturn is the bright star in the center of the Milky Way’s Dark lane about even with the top horizontal rung on the windmill.  I didn’t know I had managed to catch the shooting star in my frame until I got home and uploaded my images.

The light pollution on the horizon is coming from the town of Bishop I believe.

I hope you’re all having a great week! Yeah, halfway to the week-end!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 16mm f/2.8| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

Wordless Wednesday 35/52 Portal to the Stars

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Nikon Df| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8g@ f/2.5| 20s| ISO 2000| SanDisk Digital Film

PS CC 2017

more to come…

The Sky is Dark and Full of Stars!

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last week-end a girlfriend (T) and I went to Brookings, OR to scout, and photograph seascapes, and hopefully we’d have a clear night for night sky imaging in the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor.  We looked at the weather forecast for the week-end and it looked like we’d only have one really good night for any night sky imaging. We both hoped to photograph the Milky Way, and if we found a great spot for Star Trails we’d do that too, but it wasn’t a priority like the Milky Way was.

When we were at Arch Rock for sunset we realized straight-away that wouldn’t work out so well for a Milky Way location since it was facing west, but around the path a bit closer to the parking lot was a nice sea stack that faced directly south.  We both pulled out out cell phones and summoned our night sky app called Photo Pills to double check our thoughts, and find the time when the Galactic Center would line up over the sea stack.  After determining that 1:32AM it would line up we headed out to dinner, then back to the Hotel for a nap.

I’d been up since 5AM driving from my house in Silicon Valley up to T’s two hours north east of me. From there I drove all the way to Brookings, OR.  It’s an 8 hour drive without stops.  We stopped for gas, and lunch of course. Needless to say- I needed a nap!

My alarm sounded at 12:30AM. We were ready pretty quick and headed back to Arch Rock Viewpoint to photograph the Milky Way.

We were the only people there.  We set up took our test shots, and began shooting.  Before the trip I purchased a new filter to help me get a tack sharp focus at night. It’s called  SharpStar2 from LonelySpeck  I didn’t get it to work as it should have, but determining when I was in focus was easy. A lot easier than just using Live View alone.  That cut my set up time in half!  I’m going to be practicing here at home with the filter before my next night sky shoot.  After reading the instructions again it was definitely user error. I should have practiced with it at night before the trip, but I’m happy.

Milky Way over Sea Stack

It was really quiet just us, the sea, and the sound of our camera’s shutter opening and closing.   There was very little light pollution. The cliffs blocked most of the light from Brookings. You can see a light band at the horizon entering from the left of the frame. That’s the light from Brookings.  This was a great location with a dark sky.

Saturday night the fog rolled in. I’m so glad we went out Friday night!  T’s brother and S-i-L drove up to meet us and photograph the area Saturday.  After Sunset we headed back to town for dinner but, we got sidetracked with an Industrial night shot opportunity which I posted Wednesday

So, the fog didn’t completely ruin the night.  We had a late dinner with a glass of wine. I fell into my hotel bed after midnight, and slept in Sunday.

We had breakfast and said our farewells to T’s brother, and S-i-L and T and I set off for the long drive home.  Thankfully the drive was uneventful. 🙂

I hope to get back up there one day to explore more of the park. It’s a gorgeous coastline, and sky is dark and full of stars!

I hope you all have a lovely week-end! Can you believe June is just about over already?!!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| Hoodman Digital Film| Single Frame 20s| ISO 3200| PS CC 2017

more to come…

 

Milky Way over Mt Shasta & Shastina

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I had a fun week-end with my good friend Theresa shooting stars, and Alpine Glow on Mt. Shasta and Mt. Shastina.

We arrived at Lake Shastina Friday afternoon and hiked 250ft up a rocky, loose soiled fire road to do some scouting and look for a good composition of Mt Shasta/Shastina for sunset.

There were too many tall trees up there blocking the view, and the wind had kicked up a bit wrecking the reflection of the Volcano in the lake so we hiked back down the road to a spot we liked. On the way down my right foot slipped on a patch of loose, and rocky dirt and down I went knee first.  My lower leg landed with my boot/foot outward and my inner shin hit a rock when it landed.  I swore. A lot.

I knew it wasn’t broken, and I could put some weight on it so I limped down to the chosen spot.  T suggested we leave for the motel and get ice and rest for the rest of the night.  No! I wanted to get the shot!  I applied RICE when we got back to our motel and got up ready to shoot on Saturday.

I wouldn’t be hiking, but we had a very full day of flowers, waterfalls, an old lumber town,  star trails, and we ended our Saturday photographing the Milky Way.  I made this image just before midnight.

Milky Way over Mt. Shasta and Mt Shastina

I was so happy to be under so many stars again!   I’m thankful for the time I spent hanging out with T, not breaking my leg/knee, for a husband who “gets” me, and has always supported me, my hobbies, and dreams even when they aren’t his dreams or hobbies, and I’m thankful for seeing this beautiful place again.   I’m ready to go back! 🙂

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Nikon D801| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G @f/2.8| 20s| ISO 3200| Hoodman Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…

Top 10 2015 Images

Copyright 2015-2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last week I shared with you the Top 10 Images that received the most  views over on my flickr site today I’m going to share with you My Personal favorite images from 2015. Most of these I posted on the blog, so you’ll probably recognize them or feel a sense of Deja-vu. 🙂

I selected these images based on emotions, technical merit, or because I met a personal goal. I got my picks  down to 36 then spent a couple of days whittling those down to just 10. It’s so hard! I have an emotional attachment to all of them. 🙂

Without further ado…My Personal Top 10 Images of 2015:

1)Running in Rain Puddles.  He’s just awesome, and brings me so much joy. I love being a Grandma!!

Running in Puddles

2) Milky Way over Mt Shasta- This was an Epic night spent with Dear Friends. I hope we are able to get together to shoot here again this year.Milky Way over Mount Shasta CA, USA

3) Total Lunar Eclipse over the Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco- This was another epic night. There was weeks of planning, chasing the Moon across town from one location to this one, working the camera to get the shots all the while hoping it would all come together in post production.  It’s pretty great when it does. Totality-Lunar Eclipse over The Palace of Fine Arts San Francisc

4) Cooper’s Hawk- I think.  There are a few  images in this selection that I haven’t shared before. More times than I care to admit I find I lack the confidence that a certain image I love will be well received, or what happens to me quite a lot is that I’m not crazy about the images when I first upload them after a shoot so, I let them marinate awhile. When I return to them months or years later I find I like them a whole lot more.

This Hawk in the reeds in Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge is an image I really like, but thought it might be too pedestrian to post back in January 2015 when I photographed it.  I love its face, the clarity of the eye, the natural environment, and the fact that I was able to make the image before it flew away.

Cooper's Hawk

5) Northern Flicker-Male – Another image never shown before today. This bird has been a nemesis of mine for years! They too are flighty.

I’d read reports of him being spotted in a neighborhood not from me in Jan/Feb. 2015, so one day a friend and I went looking for him. We found him deep in the shadows of this tree.  Once I got it uploaded and did some post production work to open up the shadows I was happy with the image, and feel like I can say it’s not my nemesis anymore.  They’re such beautiful birds.

Northern Flicker

6) Salsify macro- This was an image I photographed for my Project 52/2015 using my LensBaby Composer Pro wit the macro adapters. I love my LensBaby System and that creamy background. Salsify

7) Still-life “Why fit in when you were born to stand out.” Dr. Seuss

This one makes the cut because I got the lighting, and composition that I wanted to make right.

P52 29 of 52 "Why fit in when you were born to stand out?" ~Dr.

8) Orange Crowned Warbler.   I haven’t seen this little bird too often and photographing them is so hard; they’re small, and are so fidgety you have to be quick. This particular morning I set up my rig by a seep that was drawing in birds from the area for a drink.  Patience when birding is essential. It paid off this morning. I waited 30 minutes or so for this bird to come to the seep. This is the best image I’ve made of this species.

Orange Crowned Warbler

9) Great Egret-  Another bird image I’ve never before shared.  I love the colors, and how clear its eye is.

Great Egret

10)Sunrise cresting San Francisco Skyline from Kirby Cove. It was worth the mile hike back up for this image. Being there was awesome.

Sunrise over San Francisco CA

These are my favorites from 2015.  Thank you for being so supportive, and letting me share my images with you. I look forward to seeing your images, reading your poems, thoughts, and seeing the places you travel from  my arm-chair this year.

Happy and Healthy 2016 Everyone!

More to come…

 

 

 

 

 

Milky Way over Mt. Shasta CA

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A couple of weeks back some friends and I spent the week-end near Mt. Shasta hoping for a clear night for night imaging the Milky Way. We’d been skunked the week-end before in Lassen National Park, and the smoke from the fires burning in Northern CA was causing a haze in the atmosphere.

The clouds began to shift about Sunset. There were some low clouds around the peak of Mt. Shasta, but the peak itself was clear. We hoped that held up, and it did! I caught a Shooting Star too! I don’t think this is a Perseid Meteor, but I could be wrong. Though the timing for the Perseid’s was right when I made this image.

Milky Way over Mount Shasta CA, USA

The lights are from surrounding towns and way out in the distance might be Redding, CA.

Nikon Df| AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm| Hoodman STEEL Ultra High Speed Digital Film| CS6

More to come…