Excellent Photo Adventures…Star Light, Star Bright

We had clear skies when we departed the hotel for an evening of night photography out near Totem Pole and Yei Be Chei but, by the time it was dark enough to begin light painting our first exposures, the clouds were building and the moon was casting enough light to hide all but the brightest stars.  Some people would fold up their tripods, pack away their cameras and head back to the hotel but we stuck it out to find that there were still enough stars shining brightly through the thin clouds making for different, yet beautiful skies.  We positioned ourselves with the North Star just above the Totem Pole and with our white balances set to Auto, painted the rock first and then changing to Tungsten exposed additional frames of the night sky.  The rich, warm colors on Totem Pole and the deep blues of the sky make a great color contrast…

Nikon D4, AF-S 24-120mm f4 VR

We then turned our cameras to the south and used Yei Bi Chei as a silhouette in the foreground with the Big Dipper suspended above.  The thin clouds add texture to the sky…

Nikon D3S, AF-S 24mm 1.4

A high ISO and wide aperture is needed to make a thirty second (or less) exposure that captures the pinpoint stars you see in the above two images.

Liking the blue sky and detail in Totem Pole gave me an idea to expose the Mittens before the sun set and include one image in a star trail sequence.  The brighter sky hid all but the brightest stars making the star trails less prominent but, gave the evening sky a nice blue glow while revealing detail in the foreground…

Nikon D4, AF-S 24-120mm f4 VR

With a little imagination, the possibilities for night photography are endless.  I have just scratched the surface and look forward to more opportunities to work the night skies with my new D4.  Stay tuned.