December 31, 2011

The Posts

You've seen these posts in my work before, though usually it is at night and there is some
type of alternate light source.  Well, this week, I happened to visit the posts during the
day, and it was fun to shoot them in actual daylight.  Though it was early afternoon, the
mostly overcast skies made for some nice lighting conditions.  The bit of haze that is so
typical in Utah this time of year, made the distant shoreline to the West and the mountains
to the East, all but disappear.  It really added to the feeling that you are out in the middle
of nowhere.

This last image is, hands down, one of my new favorites.
You can click on it to see a larger version.

December 30, 2011

Locomotive Springs

While out wandering with Peter yesterday, we decided to try and find Locomotive Springs.
Well, we found it.  Sorta.  We found the Locomotive Springs Wildlife Refuge, but not the
actual springs.  It's actually not too hard to find, you just go to the middle of nowhere,
and then head further West.  You can't miss it.  While we did find the area, the day was
getting late so we didn't take too much time to wander around.  From the looks of things,
it will be worth heading back out there in the spring sometime.  We did spend a bit of
time poking around an old house and an old boxcar that we found.
Looking at these images now, the area reminds me of Southern Alberta, only flatter.

December 29, 2011

Shooting Buddy

I had the opportunity to spend the day shooting today.  Even better, I spent it with one of
my favorite photographers.  We started the day at the Golden Spike historical site at
Promontory, UT.  We enjoyed watching and shooting the 119.  After we'd had our fill of
the train, we headed out to see how things looked at the Spiral Jetty.  Well, the water
levels are such that there wasn't a whole lot of the Jetty to see so we then spent some
time wandering around the old oil derricks.  After the derricks, we headed out in search
of Locomotive Springs.  We spent a bit of time wandering and then headed home.  It
was a pretty fantastic day and I'll post my images over the next few days.  Here's a few
of my buddy at work.  How could you not love this kid?

December 28, 2011

2nd Annual Christmas At The Yurt - Light Painting

Of course, it wouldn't be right to be in a spot like this without doing a little light painting.
Lucky for me, I had the great wisdom and foresight to bring a little steel wool and some
colored LEDs with me!  So, on Christmas Eve, after things had settled down inside,
headed out into the cold to do a little painting.

These first images were created by dragging the shutter for anywhere from 3-10 minutes.
You can get a feel for the length of the exposure by the size of the star trails.  The color
on the Yurt and in the foreground was painted on using a multi-colored LED flashlight.

After playing out in the cold for a bit, I decided it was time to head in where it was a bit
warmer.  I enlisted the help of a couple of kids that happened to be awake still.  If you
look closely, you'll see that we had some ghosts visit us.

All images were created using the Canon 1D Mk IV and the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L lens.

December 27, 2011

2nd Annual Christmas At The Yurt - Star Trails

The Jensen clan spent Christmas weekend at a Yurt up in the mountains.  We had a pretty fantastic time.
While we were miles away from civilization, I decided to take advantage of the lack of light pollution for some star trails.  

This first image was created on our first night, and is a composite of 40 images, all shot with a 4 minute exposure at f/4.0 and ISO 400.
For those of you that are mathematically challenged, that is a total of 160 minutes, or about 2 1/2 hours.
I could have done a single exposure for the same amount of time, but the end result would have been dramatically different.

For starters, the noise that would have been created from that long of an exposure would have been ridiculous.
The Canon in-camera long exposure noise reduction is pretty fantastic, but it would still require some pretty heavy work in post processing.
In the end, the results would not be this clean.  The second issue that would be created is that the ambient light would have accumulated
over the course of the exposure, illuminating the foreground.  The foreground elements weren't strong enough to be included in the image and the
noise that would have been created from the long exposure would have been difficult to deal with.

I like the combination of the silhouettes and the bit of open snow that make up the foreground.  It adds some interest,and gives a better
sense of place to the image.  As a side note, had I wanted to illuminate a foreground element, I could have used my flash or a flashlight
to paint the objects during one of the frames.  If you try this, make sure you do the painting in the first or last frame so that you can eliminate
them from your stack if you need to.  If you paint one of the frames in the middle, you are stuck with it as you
will end up with gaps in your trails if you remove the frame.

This second image was shot on our last morning at the Yurt.  Because this was shot in the early morning, I did things a little differently.  I knew the rising sun would cause the light to change rapidly, so I elected to use much shorter exposure times so that I could eliminate frames in my stack as needed as they became to bright.  Also, I chose a different composition that included the Yurt.  Because of this, I wanted the foreground to be illuminated.  Though I shot about 45 frames at 30 Seconds, f/2.8 and ISO 320, my final stack included only 24.  Though I could have just as easily shot a 12 minute exposure with minimal noise issues, the rapidly changing light made the margin for error pretty slim.  Chances are that I would have ended up with junk.  Having multiple frames, I had the flexibility to cut frames based on the need to balance the light from the sunrise with the star trails.
I'm pretty pleased with the end results.

All of the images were shot in RAW and converted to jpeg in Lightroom.  Both images were stacked in CS5 using the free action from
After stacking, the PSD files were taken back to Lightroom for final touch ups.

By the way, while shooting the first image, the temperature was around 7°.  In an effort to help keep things a little less chilly and to prolong battery life,
I improvised a coat for my gear with my spare toque and  some hand warmers.

This last image was taken with the Canon G12,
all others were created using the Canon 1D Mk IV and the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L lens.

December 16, 2011

Indoor Light Painting

Did a little light painting the other night with some good friends.  This time we managed to find a place to do it indoors instead of out in the cold.
Because we were indoors, stuff that burns was not an option so we used LED's, neon tubes, laser pointers, etc.
As always, it was a good time.  And, as always, I came away having learned a few things that I want to try next time.

These images were created using the Canon 1D Mk IV and the Canon 16-45mm f/2.8L lens

December 13, 2011

A little Light Painting

A few light painting shots from last week's adventure to Stansbury Island for the Lunar Eclipse.

As always, you can click on the images for a bigger view.

Lunar Eclipse - Prints

I have had a number of people ask about purchasing prints of my lunar Eclipse image.  
The two versions below, printed on metallic paper, are available for purchase.
Please contact me regarding mounting and framing options.
Prices do not include shipping and handling.  If you are interested in making a purchase, please contact me at

20" x 20" - $50.00
12" x 12" - $20.00
10" x 10" - $15.00

16" x 20" - $45.00
11" x 14" - $30.00
8" x 10" - $15.00

December 12, 2011

Star Trails and Light Painting

The other night, while we were out shooting the eclipse and doing some light painting, I wanted to take advantage of the situation and attempt to get some star trails.  With the full moon, there was a ton of ambient light so I wasn't sure how things would turn out.  I set up my first camera with the backhoe in front of the night sky, filling most of the frame.  I then dialed in my settings for a 30 second exposure.  Once I got the results I was looking for, I locked down the shutter and let it do it's thing.  For the next hour and fifteen minutes or so, the camera did it's thing while we carried on with some light painting.  The images were created using the Canon 1D Mk IV and the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L lens.  The files were processed in CS5 and stacked using the Stacker Action from

The second image was done using the same technique with a second camera.  The big difference here is that this camera managed to catch all of the light painting that was going on.  It made for a pretty chaotic image, but kind of cool anyways.  If you look closely, you can even see some star trails.  This image was created using the Canon 40D and the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens.  The same process was used to build the composite in post processing.