There is nothing more exciting than using your camera to see in the dark. Ok, maybe winning the lottery is more exciting, but shooting at night is a close second place. The Darkside workshop is a great introduction to night photography in one of America's most overlooked National Parks. Pinnacles has some of the darkest skies in the region, which makes it the perfect location to do some quality night shooting.
On a pleasant Saturday in October, I met with a group of six wonderful photographers. We introduced ourselves to one another and then I explained the basics of the workshop. Afterwards, we hopped into the van and made our way down to Pinnacles. We arrived with plenty of daylight to hike out to our shooting location and get set up. Once we arrived at the reservoir, I pointed out some compositional ideas and then began to explain the process that we would use to capture the scene. Once the sky went black, I began to light paint the massive rocks in front of our cameras. Once the rocks were sufficiently lit, we shot a few brief exposures to capture pin point stars. Then it was time to program our intervalometers and start the star trail process. We let our cameras shoot for an hour before calling it quits and hiking back to the van.
The following morning we met at the Aperture Academy studio to go over post processing. We started off in Lightroom where we did a few base edits and then synced those edits to the rest of our shots. At this point we brought our images into Photoshop to construct the star trails. With a little bit of Photoshop magic we had star trails in no time. Then we turned on the light painted layers and masked out any hot spots. I walked around the room and helped folks who ran into the inevitable issue or two while they processed and before we knew it four hours had gone by. Time flies when you're having fun!
Until next time,
Mike and the rest of the Aperture Academy team
If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.