Stars over Tenaya Canyon

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In December, I’ll be giving a talk for a local chapter of The Photographic Society of America. They’ve asked me to speak about night photography at their quarterly meeting. In preparation for the talk, I’ve been going through some of my night shots and stumbled on this one.

Gary Hart got me hooked on shooting at night. I took this image 3 years ago, nearly to the day on one of his workshops. It was a small group but we became fast friends. I still hear from many of those folks on a pretty regular basis. One of the reasons we got so close was the sheer amount of time we were together. Gary had this great idea to do a workshop specifically around shooting moonlight. We shot with the moon rising, the moon setting and landscapes using the moon as the only light source. The timing of the workshop was such that we were experiencing nearly the longest days of the year. What all that boiled down to was about 12 hours of sleep in 4 days. It was exhausting but I came back with some great images and made some new friends. Near the end of the workshop Gary asked if I’d be interested in assisting on his workshops, which I’ve been doing ever since.

This shot was taken from Glacier Point in Yosemite. Glacier Point sits directly across from Half Dome. From several vantage  points in the area, you can see Yosemite Falls, Nevada Falls and Vernal falls. You can also see the Little Yosemite valley and Tenaya Canon. Even though this is a 30 second exposure, the stars appear very crisp. Their sharpness is due to the fact that I was shooting a very wide angle lens (Tokina 12-24 f/4 @ 13mm). Stars appear to move because of the rotation of the Earth. The wideness of the frame meant that in 30 seconds the stars moved only a small percentage of the distance across the  frame. On a longer lens, the streaking would have been quite noticeable.

Cheers

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