Alabama Hills Star Trails

Alabama Hills Star Trails

Alabama Hills Star Trails, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

OK. So it was hardly a gourmet picnic dinner. Steven and I stopped for a take-out sandwich at the Subway in Lone Pine, California. Then we headed for the top of a pinnacle in the mid-portion of the Alabama Hills in time for sunset and night.

I pointed a camera south (above) and roughly north (below). For the south camera I was able to use my 110 volt DC battery, described in my story about Lady Boot Arch. The north camera was party, party, party until the camera battery went dry. If you want the gory details, the south-facing photo consists of 25 stacked 241 second exposures (241 seconds is my D300’s idea of a 4 minute bulb setting) for an exposure time of roughly 100 minutes. I used a 10.5mm digital fisheye for these shots at f/3.2 and ISO 250.

For the north-facing shot, I was able to eke out 17 exposures (again, at roughly 4 minutes for each exposure) before the battery drained, for a stacked exposure time of about 68 minutes, all exposures using a 12mm lens at f/4 and ISO 320.

We were in position on the top of a pinnacle before sunset. As sunset faded to dusk, and twilight turned to full night, I was able to snap some exposures that I could later use to add foreground color and detail to these images. For example, the pop-top camper in the bottom photo would not have been visible in the darkness of full night.

Depth perception also changes when you are perched on a high place at night in the darkness of no moon. The cliff below me faded until it almost seemed like I could walk across the crags to the rest of the Alabama Hills.

Oh yes, the Subway sandwich tasted suprisingly good in the darkness on my small pinnacle perch listening to the syncopated snapping of shutters and interval timers.

Want to learn the techniques I used to make these images (and much more)? Come to the Alabama Hills Star Circle Workshop, November 5-7, 2010. The dates are selected to coincide with the darkness of the moon, and we should get vast and clear skies in the Eastern Sierra. Alabama Hills presents almost unlimited opportunities for night photography—I can promise you won’t be bored.

There are still some places left in the workshop, but note that tuition goes up from $500 to $600 on October 16.

Here’s the registration link; also you may be interested in many of the technique articles that Steven has posted on the Star Circle blog.

Camping

View this image larger.

This entry was posted in Digital Night, Photography.

One Comment

  1. timetre October 20, 2010 at 1:20 am #

    As usual, beautiful night pictures …

8 Trackbacks

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    […] in the fantastic and magical Star Circles workshop, we actually did some daytime shooting in the Alabama Hills. Odd to be out and about in the daytime; sometimes night photographers are like a creative version […]

  2. By Boys and Their Toys | Photoblog 2.0 on November 14, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    […] is a view facing north from the Gunga Din formation in the Alabama Hills above Lone Pine, California. On Friday night we took the workshop to this area for the first shoot. […]

  3. By Alabama Hills Sunrise | Photoblog 2.0 on November 15, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    […] of the High Sierra crest all the way up to Whitney. I was in position below the location of this night shot of Alabama Hills. Camera on tripod, I shot three exposures at 1/10 of a second, 1/30 of a second, and 1/80 of a […]

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    […] Hills at Night Zabriskie Point Devil’s Golf Course Death Valley Campsite Race Track Playa Alabama Hills Star Trails Lady Boot […]

  5. By Chasing Rainbows | Photoblog 2.0 on December 6, 2010 at 11:10 am

    […] story, this rainbow was a bonus feature during last month’s night photography workshop in the Alabama Hills. After a while, you get a nose for rainbow weather—and rainbows certainly seemed likely on […]

  6. […] Alabama Hills Star Trails, photo by Harold Davis. […]

  7. By Whitney Crest | Photoblog 2.0 on January 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    […] is a shot of the Whitney Crest of the High Sierra from the Alabama Hills at sunrise on an autumn morning. Pockets of snow and fog linger in the high country. Here’s […]

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    […] image is from a position very close to that of where I shot from in Alabama Hills Star Trails, but looking up and north rather than out and […]

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