I just returned from teaching a workshop in Ouray, CO. with ANPW. Matt Kloskowski came along to teach some Lightroom tips; I’m amazed Matt always seems to know some new tricks, especially with LR5. Check out his blog and training videos at Kelby Training. We had some of the most incredible conditions I have ever seen. Not only did we hit Dallas Divide with great color, but one morning we awoke to 6 inches of snow on the ground, resulting in some unique images of spruce trees with snow surrounded by stunning yellow aspen. We also photographed some great beams of light breaking through the clouds hitting the San Juan mountains.
One night we went out to photograph the stars and do a little light painting, and I thought I would share our technique. Our goal was to freeze the stars and not create star trails. Try these setting for this type of night shot: Iso 3200, 25 seconds at F4. If you are using a wide angle lens (around 20mm), you should produce sharp stars with no moment. Use a cable release and good tripod to keep your camera steady. Another challenge is getting sharp focus. I set my focus to infinity, and then back it off just a little. I’ll take a shot, and check it for sharp focus, and make any minor adjustments. Some folks are using a CamRanger which allows you to focus using an iPad and a bigger screen. Remember, you have to turn off autofocus since it is too dark for the camera to focus. I also like to set my white balance to Incandscent for a more purple look to my sky. If the sky is really clear, it shouldn’t be too hard to find the milky way. Aim your camera up at the night sky and shoot!