Under the Stars

     I've been making attempts at night photography off and on over the last couple of years, but the results just haven't worked out the way I wanted. While weather played a part in some of that, my biggest limitation was my equipment. I just didn't have the right gear to do it right. I decided on my recent Moab trip that this would be an excellent opportunity to give it another try, so I rented some different equipment to try it out.

     As I've mentioned in previous posts, the weather was a challenge on this trip, but the last night we were there the clouds finally cleared out. We made the drive up to Arches with some goals in mind. There we came face to face with the growing interest in night photography. On all my previous attempts to shoot the stars, I had never come across anyone else that I didn't bring out with me. This time, we crossed paths with multiple groups out shooting. That's not a bad thing, it was just a different experience, and it actually worked out to our benefit. I also suspect it may have had something to do with the looming nighttime closures at Arches. Virtually the entire road system in the park is being reconstructed this year, and most of the work is being done at night. Due to that, a few weeks ago complete nighttime closures of the park began, with the only nights the park will be open are Friday & Saturday nights. This will continue through November, so if you're planning on visiting Arches this year keep that in mind.

     After a few hours out, Balanced Rock was our last stop for the night. Walking on the path around the formation by headlamp, I noticed this twisted piece of wood laying on the rock and went to work creating a composition with it in the foreground. Shooting in the dark with no moon is a bit of trial & error, but you can usually work out a composition in a few shots. If you want to keep your stars sharp, you also want to remember to use the rule of 500. Since I was shooting with a 20mm lens, I was using shutter speeds of 20-25 seconds for all my shots. I adjusted my aperture to dial in my exposure, and I like the way this one turned out. I was able to get enough light by starlight to light up the foreground just enough, while keeping the stars prominent in the sky. 

     If you're enjoying following my posts here on my blog, don't forget to follow me on Facebook & Instagram as well. You'll often see my latest photos there first! If you'd like to order a print of this image, just click on it above and you'll be taken to my art store where you can place your order. There are also some other night shots from the trip to be found as well. Thanks for following along!