Monday, March 10, 2014

Night Moves - Photographing the Blue Hour

Venus and the Milky Way shine bright over the pine uplands in Everglades National Park.
Titled "Into the Dream" - Photo © Mac Stone
Lately, I've been enjoying spending longer hours outdoors, shooting well after dusk and painfully many hours before sunrise. The cool tones of a cold night under skies peppered with millions of celestial bodies brings us into a world that is today too commonly choked out by unfeeling fluorescence. Photographing these nightscapes has doubled the size of my artistic palette while also incentivizing me to strive for multi-day trips.

By packing up our cameras after sunset, we're missing out on the most magical hours to be outside. When I was growing up, the main course of swimming and paddling was only made sweeter by the dessert of campfires, stars, and rumbling thunderstorms. At the edge of night I feel alive, and in some places chewed alive by mosquitoes. But no matter what the case, it's always worth clicking a few more frames.

In the Everglades, the difference between late afternoon and early evening can change the tone, mood, and structure of an image entirely. Photo © Mac Stone

For this image, I kept my shutter open for 30 seconds and shot at f/3.5 ISO 1250. Photo © Mac Stone

This image was really tricky to make. I was photographing this composition in Everglades National Park just as the storm was splitting apart, meaning that there were probably only a few more good strikes left to capture. I knew I wanted the reflection in the water to complete the image, but if I kept my shutter open for too long then the image would blow out once the streaks of lightning came. So, to account for this, I dramatically underexposed and consecutively took 30-second images at f/8 ISO 2500, essentially exposing for the lightning which I had to guess would be 4 stops brighter than mid tone. It took about 8 frames of total black before this powerful strike made the image, exposing perfectly. Sometime you get lucky, I guess. Photo © Mac Stone
Great egrets roost along pond cypress in Everglades National Park. Photo © Mac Stone
Camping on East Cape in Everglades National Park at the fringe of a storm. Photo © Mac Stone
A full moon lights up a cypress tree in North Central Florida just before dawn. Photo © Mac Stone
Of course things are always harder at night. While leaving Everglades National Park after shooting "Into the Dream" a rear tire blew on a loaner car. Still, not missing a beat I changed the tire and managed to make some lemonade out of this lemon of a situation. Lesson: there's always an image to make. Photo © Mac Stone

1 comment:

  1. Camping on East Cape in Everglades National Park at the fringe of a storm is exciting .