Picture of the week

August 2, 2015

Tree of Ages

Tree of Ages

A majestic bristlecone pine with the milkyway as the backdrop.  I captured this single exposure image last year under astronomical conditions where the milkyway would be brighter, and utilizing an improved lighting setup to better illuminate the tree. This reflects my latest efforts in trying to capture higher caliber images of this nature.

Of the night compositions below, the bottom left is a self portrait on the infamous petroglyph covered "Skyrock".  While photographing this, I felt that it needed something more to complete the image to create more interest, so I decided to include myself.  This was done as a sequence of two captures. One exposed for the rock and the nighttime sky, while light painting the petroglyphs on the rock. The second of myself after putting the camera on a delayed trigger in order to have time to get into place. I also needed to stand motionless for about 30 seconds to allow enough time for a proper exposure and too match that of the first exposure.

The image in the lower right was the trickiest exposure sequence I have made to-date.   With a composition in mind, and after some location scouting ahead of time for an upcoming solar eclipse in 2012, I decided on Fort Churchill in west-central Nevada.  For this capture, I setup the camera on the tripod with the framing seen below, and after fixing the exposure, focus, and other camera settings ahead of time, I applied a solar filter over the lens.  Using an intervalometer I then captured the sun and moon moving across the sky as it progressed through the complete cycle of the eclipse.  In the latter half of the sequence I had the unplanned situation of clouds moving into the scene.  This obscured the path of the sun, but fortunately it was after the peak, and resulted in a more dramatic sunset.  To complete the composition, I then removed the solar filter without otherwise disturbing the camera position or lens, and captured a final exposure of the old historic building and the landscape.  The exposure sequence was then combined in Photoshop CS5 for the composition you see here.  Given the rarity of solar eclipses, I did a dry run of this effort ahead of time to make sure I had all the technical details worked out.  Making a mistake or even bumping the tripod would result in not being able to try it again at this location until 2023 :v(

All three of these images will be on display at the Viewpoint Gallery in midtown Sacramento on 2015 J Street from August 5th to September 5th.  If you are there for "Second Saturday" on August 8th, don't forget to stop on by.  They will also be available for purchase.  You can find more information about this exhibit which also includes works from other select members here.

Mystery of the glyphs 
Mystery of the Glyphs
Path of the eclipse
Path of the Eclipse