Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Eastern Sierra Fall Colors Photography Near Bishop, California


2018 was another outstanding year for fall color in the Eastern Sierra! Our main workshop visits to the Bishop area were expected to be October 4-6, but the color held out so well, we returned during the October 10 - 14 session as well.

The 2019 calendar will be up soon here.

Colorful Aspen Reflection

Icy Fall Morning

Fall Colors on Black Rock

Fall Pond Reflection

First Light Over Aspendell

Along South Fork Bishop Creek

Cloudy Fall Reflection, Lake Sabrina

Snowy October Night Photography in Bodie


I've shot in Bodie at night nearly 40 times. The Bodie workshop season typically runs late May through mid-October when any storms tend to be convention-driven from daytime heat. So even on stormy days, the sky usually clears up at night. This time, in early October, a light storm not driven by daytime heat moved through, at first driving broken clouds to move through our shots of the Milky Way, then thickening to create trails of uneven clouds back-lit by green airglow.
Break in the Storm 
The Milky Way was mostly out for the first hour, then coming and going with streaks of clouds for about an hour, then then the clouds were translucent with intermittent snow showers. The snow never stuck to the ground much, but it was cool to have streaking through our shots. Fortunately everyone else was really into it too It was chilly with the wind blowing, but every shot was different, so we worked fast, and right through the end, when we could barely get out on time!
Snow Flurries in Bodie at Night
Moving Clouds Over 1937 Chevy
Stormy Night at the Lottie Johl House
Snow Falling Over the Standard Mill
Moving Clouds and Airglow
Main Street Bodie on a Stormy Night
Red Atmospheric GlowOne participant decided to leave in case the snow showers became more intense. His red brake lights were reflecting off of the low clouds above.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Oregon Coast Photography Tour September 2018

Oregon Coast dunes at sunset, September 2018.
I just completed a 2000-mile trip to revisit some of my favorite places in Oregon. Although I lived in Oregon for years in the 1980s and revisited a lot in the mid to late 2000s, I hadn't been to some of these places in years. Even with 2+ weeks it wasn't enough time, so I'll just have to go back soon!

I don't know when I'll get around to uploading all of my photos from my recent Oregon Coast photography tour, but here are a few images that I've uploaded so far.

What's your favorite place along the Oregon Coast?

Bandon Sunset Panorama

Twilight Hunt

Oregon Coast Sunset

Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, Oregon

Tangerine Sunset on the Oregon Coast

Friday, February 16, 2018

Analysis of a Lunar Eclipse Shoot

I'll be presenting in Woodland, California next Tuesday, February 20 at 7 pm in case you might like to attend. The Woodland Camera Forum meets in Norton Hall, 70 Cottonwood Street, Woodland, California: www.davisenterprise.com/arts/jeff-sullivan-presents-work-at-photography-group/

The formatting of this post got all messed up when i tried to transfer it form my original Wordpress blog post on my Web site here: http://www.jeffsullivanphotography.com/blog/2018/02/08/lunar-eclipse-photography-january-31/
I'll fix it as time permits, which might not be a while, so best if you read it over there for now!

Lunar Eclipse Teed Up Do You Have Plans to Shoot The Blue Moon This Month?

For the January 31, 2018 lunar eclipse, my planning started weeks in advance, looking at the timing of the eclipse, the direction of the moon, and at prior shots like the moon set above from 2010 that seemed like a good concept to re-shoot with a moon in some phase of eclipse.  I decided to try to place the moon on top of the South Tower of the bridge, worked out the geometry to estimate the moon's elevation, looked in an app to determine its compass direction at that time, and where I should stand.

 So after you decide to shoot an early morning lunar eclipse, what's the next logical thing to do? Pick a spot for the prior sunset of course. Marin County's Rodeo Beach fit the bill nicely for a relaxing sunset.

Pacific Sunset  A trip to Japan Center for sushi later, and it's too early for sleep, so a little night photography along the San Francisco waterfront helps put a few more travel images on the card and burn off a few dinner calories.
Bay Bridge at Night 

Wake up at 3am, and go get a nice moon shot from the Crissy Field area: Total Lunar Eclipse January 31, 2018

This image was exposed for 15 seconds at f/8, ISO 200 on a Canon EOS 70D with a lens at 381mm using a Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS L Series lens plus EF 2X III teleconverter. After the APS-C crop factor, the equivalent focal length was 610mm! The camera setup was on an iOptron SkyTracker, so the longest exposures in the sequences I was shooting could easily be 15 to 20 seconds at ISO 200. What next? You've chosen the spot anticipating the moon approaching the Golden Gate Bridge, so when it's close enough you can include the bridge in compositions:

  Lunar Eclipse Over the Golden Gate Bridge

 But the real alignment you've calculated from the height of the bridge, the distance to the bridge, and the compass direction is the moon passing the top of the South Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. But you forgot to subtract out the elevation of your shooting position from the height of the bridge, so the moon is about 1/2 moon width, about 0.25 degrees, too high. So you move about a dozen feet to your left, compose over the shoulders of a couple of photographers, and get the composition that you envisioned weeks earlier:

The recent weather and the forecast called for partly cloudy conditions, and at times there was definitely a thin haze that the moon was shining through, but there was also a challenge that I don't usually have to deal with back home in the high desert: condensation!  For a while I had to wipe my lens every few shots to remove it.  Astrophotographers sometimes use heaters on their telescopes, photographers shooting on a dewy morning can improvise using gaffer's tape and hand warmers. That's not the end of the fun, as sunset light paints the sky while the moon dropped into the bridge.  Fortunately the atmospheric haze also cleared up significantly.

California astrophotography

Sunrise approaches as the partially-eclipsed moon sets behind the Golden Gate Bridge.[/caption] As it descends further, while shooting the lunar eclipse through San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, for a matter of seconds I decided to try to silhouette a vehicle against the setting, partially-eclipsed moon. A large delivery truck fit the bill nicely. I was shooting at 400mm, so I had to anticipate the movement of the vehicle enough ahead of time to leave mirror lock-up on!
Early Morning Delivery 
Note the rough edge to the moon. At this high degree of telephoto, on the moon in the lower couple of degrees of elevation when our view of it is through a lot of turbulent air, the view of the moon is visibly distorted. No doubt there will be many faked shots from this eclipse as usual, and a recent article on FStoppers discusses some of the ways you can spot them. So to summarize, anticipating an interesting place to capture the mono alongside earth-bound features using apps like PhotoPills and The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE) enables the capture of many compositions beyond "Just another lunar eclipse shot"... not that there's anything wrong with that! So once the eclipse is "in the can" (like a reel of exposed movie film), what next? Think of something to shoot while you're in the are, or on your way home! A quick detour to the California Coast, the Mendocino area in this case, fit the bill nicely. After the Eclipse Astronomical events aren't just opportunities for astrophotography, they are a great excuse to get out. travel, and shoot!  The weather can be surprisingly warm along the California Coast in the winter given the heat sink effect of the water and the lower winds compared to summer.  Temperatures in the high 50s by noon and walking down Main Street Mendocino, I had to take off and carry my jacket as I became too hot to wear it. Post-Eclipse Sunset

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Outdoor Photographer Magazine Iconic Locations Winner

Yosemite Morning Sun Rays

Thank you Outdoor Photographer Magazine for selecting my photo as the winning image for your Iconic Locations challenge!  See the write-up on their site for more information on how the image was created:
https://www.outdoorphotographer.com/iconic-locations-assignment-winner-jeff-sullivan/

OP was kind enough to share the image on their Facebook page and Twitter timeline as well.
Here are some more images from that amazing sunrise during my photography workshop in early May:

Yosemite Light Rays on Valley Fog

Light Rays On Morning Fog

Yosemite Valley Morning Light

Rainbow in the Mist Moonbow Reflections 2017
Climber Lights on El Capitan

Morning Fog in Yosemite Valley

See my Web site for many more images from my 2017 photography workshops: www.JeffSullivanPhotography.com

Half Dome Morning Reflection

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Watch the Moon Rise at Sunset Tonight, October 4, 2017

Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve: Super Moon Rise

The moon will rise shortly before sunset tonight, providing a perfect opportunity to photograph the moon near the horizon at sunset.  Here are 38 degrees north it'll rise about 15 minutes before sunset, and be about 1.6 degrees high, or three moon widths, above a zero-degree horizon at sunset.

Mono Lake Moonrise (Re-edit) 

About ten minutes later as you may start to see the earth's shadow rise above the horizon, its blue color contrasting against the adjacent pink-orange last light of the sun in the "belt of Venus" effect, the moon will be about 3.5 degrees high, seven moon widths.

Super Moon Reflection

In apps such as The Photographer's Ephemeris and PhotoPills you can fine tune the times and moon direction and elevation for any shooting spot you might want to plan for.  Plan well enough, and you can anticipate compositions that place the moon reflecting in lakes, or beside or just over natural or man-made landmarks.

Moon Rise Behind Half Dome

Similar opportunities present themselves on the opposite horizon with the moon set at sunrise, so look at your favorite astrophotography app and start planning! You can combine opportunities, such as catching a moon coming out of eclipse, as it sets behind a nearby ridge.

Partially Eclipsed Moon Setting, October 8, 2014

Or place the moon on a man-made structure like the tip of the Transamerica building in San Francisco.  I started shooting this sequence of images about 15 minutes ahead of time to show how the placement of the moon can be accurately planned in advance, and rendering the images as a time-lapse video lets you see the entire sequence:

Plan to Shoot the April 14/15 2014 Lunar Eclipse: Example Landing on the Transamerica Pyramid
As calculated, the moon ends up centered on the tip of the pyramid!
For a discussion of advanced considerations, read the article, "I've planned my supermoon eclipse shot: what could possibly go wrong?"

For a bonus on the tomorrow morning, I see in my SkyWeek+ app that the planets Venus and Mars will be within 1/4 degree of each other before dawn on October 5.  The StarWalk+ app shows me that they will be rising by about 5:10 am roughly due east.  Photograph them on and close to the horizon, then conditions should continue to improve improve by around 6 am as they're rising out of the thicker air and haze close to the horizon.  At that point they are still low enough to be captured in landscape shots as the oncoming twilight increasingly illuminates the landscape.  The sun rises close to 7 am, so they may fade as the sky brightens, and Mars in particular may be long gone by 6:30 am.

Venus Jupiter Moon Conjunction

You never know what you might come up with.  A while back I shot the moon with Jupiter and Venus rising nearby, and my photo was used in an article by astronomer Don Olson of the University of Texas, in an article in the August issue of Sky & Telescope Magazine!

I haven't looked up the phase that Venus is in, but if you have a strong enough lens, youc an see that it's illuminated in a crescent phase.

Multi-Colored UFO?

The first step is to anticipate and plan for some great opportunities with the moon and/or planets. Then get out there and shoot! Tonight at sunset and tomorrow before dawn offer you a couple of good ones to start with. You never know what you might discover!