Last week, @kaydenphan and I drove to Death Valley to meet up with @tracyleephotos, who was coming from SoCal. The salt flats were way less perfect this year than last year. I think all the crazy weather we had destroyed their perfectly smooth centers and nicely raised hexagonal rims. We had to walk quite a bit farther than usual before we could find these semi-decent formations. And of course, the moon was annoyingly right next to the milky way, clouding its visibility with the bright light. We had two choices...either wait for the moon to set and then get a better milky way photo with the improved darkness, or accept the photo as it was with the moon in it and head out to Zabriskie point to get a second composition. We opted for option 2. It's crazy how different the weather was at 2 different locations in the same park - super calm at the salt flats and super windy at Zabriskie!
For those who do not know, my home is in Las Vegas. My heart ❤ goes out to all the victims and their loved ones. I am so incredibly moved by the outpouring of support from our community as people come together to donate blood, food, services, and help out in any way that they can. After thousands of donations, the blood banks are full and turning away additional donors (but invite you to come back in the future as the shelf life of blood is only 5 days). Cox has opened up all Wi-Fi networks. Uber has been giving free rides to the blood banks and hospitals. Boyd, Station Casinos, and Southpoint all opened their hotels for free to family member of those injured or killed in the tragedy. The Las Vegas gofund me account has already raised 1.2 million dollars in donations to help victims. Caesar's has a line of trauma counselors pouring in from all over to help those in need...and so much more. #prayforlasvegas#communitycomingtogether#love#stopthehate
I love going on spontaneous milky way adventures! This was a quick 16 hour total trip out and back with @tracyleephotos and @kgoujon. After work, we hopped in the car and drove 3 hours to Cathedral Gorge State Park, set up our hammocks at our campsite, and scoped out a location to shoot the milky way later that night. While Kevin slept peacefully in his hammock, Tracy and I headed back out to our earlier pre-determined location and set up as the moon started to set. There was just a sliver of moonlight and we rushed to capture as many photos we could using the moon's light to capture the foreground, but we were also fighting with the clouds rolling in and covering the milky way. Of course, after the moon set and the foreground was all dark, the clouds completely disappeared, unveiling the whole milky way. I was lucky enough to get this shot with a little bit of moonlight left to illuminate the foreground and a small break in the clouds to reveal the milky way.
Sony A7RII, Rokinon 14 mm f/2.8, 20 sec., ISO 4000
11 images stacked in SLS, processed in PS and LR
Great Basin National Park has been on my list of places to explore for awhile now. It's remote location 4-5 hours from the nearest large city, lack of light pollution, and high altitude make it a stargazer's dream. Before the sun set, I hiked out to scope out Stella Lake with @tracyleephotos and @kgoujon and was stoked to discover that the milky way would be rising during blue hour with perfect alignment over Wheeler Peak. We set up our cameras and tripods and didn't have to wait too long before we started shooting. Temperatures dropped below 40 degrees and I was freezing despite my 5 layers of clothing. Tracy had me do some "astro-aerobics" which consisted of doing squats behind our cameras in order to keep warm. Such a beautiful place. I've never seen so many stars in my life. Can't wait to go back.
This was my first attempt at shooting and editing an image this complex. This is a blended and stacked pano consisting of 40 images. The foreground was shot during blue hour and the milky way was shot shortly thereafter. It took me several hours to edit...mostly because I didn't know what I was doing and there was a lot of trial and error. Thank you Tracy Lee for teaching me your ways in advanced night photography techniques and of course, for the adventure.