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Night Sky, Yosemite Falls

Posted by
Gary Hart (California, United States) on 6 February 2009 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

With any luck I'll be reprising this shot as you read this. I'm in Yosemite right now with a workshop I timed for the February full moon. I think night is the next frontier for landscape photography because of the amazing capabilities of the new digital SLRs.

While many digital photographers have already discovered the long exposure capabilities of their SLRs, I'm afraid the majority of night images simply look like daytime with stars. Night is dark and cool, so capturing something that feels like night requires a bit of underexposure (as far as your camera's concerned) with histogram skewed to the left, and a relatively cool (blue) color temperature (drag the raw processor's color temperature slider to the left). Of course the reality is by making the scene a bit brighter than your eyes see, you're actually overexposing your image, so I generally just ignore my histogram when doing night photography.

Since night shots are darker than daylight shots, distant, larger subjects usually work better than smaller more intricate subjects. Generally the best night images target something reflective like water or granite, or isolate striking silhouettes against the night sky, such as dramatic trees (bristlecone pines and oak trees are particularly nice).

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Thanks for visiting. Even if I don't respond, your comments are always read and appreciated.

LauraS from Chico, United States

This is spectacular. I'll be the workshop is, too. Thanks for the great detailed explanation.

6 Feb 2009 11:00pm

Chuck from United States

Gary, I remember the first time you showed me this view at the Spring 2007 workshop. It was spectacular in daylight, but the stars and silken water is fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

8 Feb 2009 12:11am

John Keisker from Thailand

This is an unbelievable image. It has inspired me to try something similar. What time of night was this taken? Would you mind sharing a few of the particulars? (if not, no worries, I know you are busy) Either way, thanks for this Gary, fantastic stuff! I will be looking to book one of your workshops within the next couple years for sure!

18 Feb 2009 11:39am

@John Keisker: Thanks, John. This was taken at around 9 p.m. I look forward to seeing you in a workshop (we'll be doing this in both my April and May workshops this year).

shoti from Everywhere in the, Philippines

perfect. I love it.

22 Mar 2009 12:47am

Magda from Vancouver, Canada

oh wow! Love the perspective and framing! Well done

6 May 2009 7:40pm

This image has been featured in 1 Remix collection.

Starlight by Jason Kravitz