Ad Astra (To the Stars)
This star trail shot was nearly 4 hours of exposures. It was done using an Olympus OM-D EM-1 camera with a feature called Live Comp. Look it up, it’s pretty cool, it smashes the change of light on to the previous composite in camera in real time vs. 10s or 100s of exposures to process in photoshop. Plus you watch the image grown on your wirelessly connect phone or tablet, way cool, right? So while that was going on I backlit the grass with the rear cab lights on my truck, ~1 minute. Then I light painted the tractor or it would have been a silhouette. The fire flies accumulated over time adding a little spice to the dish.
I travel a lot for adventures but have also grown to love the wide open spaces of the Flint Hills in Kansas. It’s something that isn’t always obvious with a casual visit, it takes time, but the place has a way of sneaking up on you. It’s the real west right here in the midwest, with dark skies and bright stars, sunrise, and sunsets as good as anywhere on earth; black burned hills that turn to a green lush buffet for cattle, amazing landscapes, textures, and great people. Just get off I-70 a bit and you’ll see.
The shot below was taken on Isla El Pescador, a little island not far from our base at Las Animas on the Baja tour. We had a blast that night and it was a thrill to watch people get star shots out of their cameras for the first time. The tour is timed so that we can go for the sunset, set up and wait for the stars to show up, just enough time for a cerveza in between the two shoots. We stood low on the beach and shot up over the bird dropped ridge with the line of cactus, while I light painted them from the right side of the frame.
Shooting the luminescent plankton was one of the craziest and most fun ideas we had in Baja. Luckily it worked out just as envisioned. The luminous plankton that would light up the water in the wake of the ponga and when schools of fish swam through. It was very cool but hard to capture. The pilot Gray and I bounced around some ideas and decided a long exposure would be the best bet. Lisa and I hiked up to the cliff on a point near the Las Animas eco-lodge and signaled to the boat with flashlight codes. Once in place, the captain ran the boat in expanding circles and we caught the effect under the Milky Way. Everyone was pretty excited we were able to capture it!