Thursday, September 23, 2010

Make A Wish


I am very pleased to announce my latest release "Wishes" from my Oregon/Washington trip this summer. Capturing a shooting star with a camera is a very rare thing, but capturing two is truly once in a lifetime. I consider it to be one of the most magical and amazing images in my collection. There have been many inquiries into the story behind this image, so I thought I would share the tale of that evening with the mountain.

It was taken at Mt. Rainier National Park in the Paradise wildflower fields. We spent an afternoon hiking and scouting for potential images at sunset using Mt. Rainier as a backdrop only to discover that the sky was just "too clear and cloudless" to produce any drama in the sky above the peak. As sunset started to unfold, as expected, I was less than thrilled with sky portion of my images. The weather was gorgeous and the sky was crystal clear, so we decided to hang around for several more hours to do some twilight and night photography over the mountain. I saw the potential for a nice twilight image where the sky turns that deep blue just before dark, stars twinkling, the cool shadowed mountain with the warm alpine glow jut behind it , and the blue lupines scattered throughout meadows. Capturing an image like this is very technically challenging. Each of the components take on their magical "glow and color" qualities at different points throughout the evening, plus enough light needs to be available to account for factors like wind moving the flowers around. In order to put all these pieces together it required blending 4 images together taken at different points over a 4 hour period. First I had to find the composition that would really emphasize the soft glowing blues in the lupines, and ensure everything was setup, in focus, and exactly the way I wanted. Once the process is started, the camera can not be touched or moved. Now that everything was in place I waited until dusk to take the first exposure of the wildflowers. The second exposure was taken about an hour later with the focus shifted to the mountain and the soft glow behind it. Over the course of the next two hours I would take an exposure about every 30 minutes to ensure I captured the sky as the twilight blues turned to black and the stars began to shine bright. At that point it just becomes the difficult task of blending the selected images together to produce what the human eye was actually seeing that evening.

While we were standing around talking between shots, I did notice a shooting star to the left of where we were shooting. It wasn't until I got back to the studio and began sorting through the images that I discovered I had recorded two separate shooting stars throughout the evening. It goes without saying that I instantly knew I had lucked out and found my "drama" for the sky portion of my image. I used the two sky portions with the shooting stars along with the other two foreground images to recreate that evening in one slice of time.

I hope you enjoy this very special addition to my collection, and don't forget to wish upon the falling stars.

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