The Milky Way “season” is generally considered to run from April through October. By that we mean that the galactic core, or center, of the Milky Way galaxy is visible in the Northern Hemisphere and astrophotographers have the best chances of capturing, well, stellar images. But there’s a lot more to successful Milky Way photography than that. This article excerpts some tips from a NANPA webinar I did a while back. The complete webinar is available in the Members’ Area of the NANPA website.
Story and photos by Tom Haxby, NANPA Board President
In my opinion there is nothing more wonderful for a nature photographer than to welcome spring in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Local and migrating birds are singing, blooming wildflowers are everywhere, waterfalls abound, and night skies on the Blue Ridge Parkway are amazing.
An unprecedented number of field events—combined with the kind of classroom sessions and vendor demonstrations you’ve come to expect of NANPA’s big signature events—are what make the 2020 Nature Photography Celebration in Asheville, North Carolina, special.
As you may already know, this year’s Celebration features six distinct educational tracks: night photography, birds, landscapes/scenics, flowers, fine art, and conservation. You can attend all of the workshops and field events in one track for deeper understanding of that area, or mix and mingle between tracks for a broader, more general experience of nature photography.
But what I’m most excited about is the field trips. If you’re like me and learn best when the camera’s actually in your hands, then Celebration is for you.
If you look at a satellite photo taken at night of the United States, you’ll see a recognizable shape. The coastlines are outlined in light. Major cities are clearly defined. Yet, out in far West Texas, there is a dark area void of major manmade lighting.
This huge dark area is being preserved thanks to a major dark sky preservation movement by local entities.
Moonlit Night at Park Avenue, Arches National Park. Sigma 12-24mm lens @ 12mm, f/4.5, ISO 100, exposed for just over an hour. Photo by Roman M. Kurywczak
I have been photographing nighttime landscapes for about 20 years now, capturing images of star trails like the one pictured above with good success (even in the film days). The arrival of digital cameras and their high ISO capabilities has allowed me to push the boundaries of nighttime landscape photography and allowed me to capture the milky way and stars just as we see them. I released my e-book on that subject in February 2011 but wanted to revisit some of the images I had captured with the Sigma 12-24mm lens. The above image is the newest version of my cover shot, but this time the illumination you see is from just the moon. A rock solid tripod and ballhead are a must for this genre of photography. A wide-angle lens is also a must; the Sigma 12-24mm lens is now my lens of choice for my Canon 1D Mark III bodies. For those of you with crop sensors, the 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM should be your go to lens, but keep in mind that any wide angle lens will work (Tip: you should be around 20mm max on a full frame sensor with the settings I will be providing). Continue reading →
Photographically painting with light has been around for about 100 years. It was made popular by distinguished photographers Man Ray and Barbara Morgan in the 1930s and 1940s. Photographer and inventor Aaron Jones was a master of the hosemaster light painting system and brought the technique into the commercial photography world in the 1980s (seehttp://aaronjonesphoto.com/). Personally, I’ve been fascinated by it ever since seeing O. Winston Link’s steam locomotive images from the 1950s. Continue reading →