Post #1 of 3: Teton Light Painting
This is the first post of three this week. All the photos are from a 12-hour photo shoot of the Tetons I completed a few days ago. I left Rexburg after finishing my final grading for the semester. I was inspired my many amazing photobooks my students turned in as the end of our Comm 370 Digital Imaging classes. Treating myself to a “sunset to sunrise photoshoot” is one of the best rewards I can think of!
Light Painting the Tetons!
Light painting is a new passion of mine and I had some fun in Jackson last week illuminating the old Mormon Row barn on Antelope Flats Rd. I started about 9:45 p.m. when some sunset light was still lingering behind the Tetons. When I used a long exposure of about 30 seconds, I could see this blue glow setting off the silhouette of the peaks. I increased the sats (+2) and sharpness (+5) in my Nikon D7000 and set her up on a tripod. I started with Auto White Balance, but also tried Sun and Incandescent as well. Then the magic started when I used a spotlight to paint light on the barn and corrals. Starting with the top image, I worked my way through several experiments with off camera light painting. I was running around in the dark with my big light and fell in a few large rodent holes. I also had to jump a small ditch full of water a few times and that was fun. For the most part, I had a blast. The sky was very dark and the stars became more evident as it got later. I still prefer the shots I took in the first hour after sunset. However if was fun to also get some star shots. If you go longer than about 20 seconds though, your stars start trailing and looking a bit odd.
Chilling, Thrilling Moonrise
Anyway, just when I thought I was finished, I noticed the glow of the moon coming up behind me. The moonrise was even more thrilling than the sunrise that I have been used to in the same spot. However, I was alone and when the big, bright moon appeared from behind the mountains at my back, a chilling sound pierced the stillness. Coyotes and wolves starting howling all around me. That is when it dawned on me. I was in the middle of nowhere, in the pitch dark, at midnight… surrounded by wild animals. This is also a favorite grazing ground for buffalo, which I saw in this same spot the next morning. Needless to say, I got a bit spooked. I was quite a walk from my car, so there would be no quick get-aways if I did have a wild animal encounter. I figured my large and very bright spotlights were the best weapon I had to slow down, or blind a would-be attacker. Ha-Ha! Not funny though. 🙂 I took solace in the peaceful weather. It was perfectly calm, shirt-sleeve warm and quiet, except for the occasional howling. Within about ten minutes, the howling soon stopped and I could not resist shooting another hour to catch the moonlight on the snowy peaks. The entire time, I tried lighting the scene in various ways, from each side and with varied focal lengths and ISOs. This was just too much fun.