Back in June, I took a weekend camping trip up to the Sierras with some good friends and headed up to this lookout to shoot sunset. I had been here once before, back in March, but it was nice to come back during warmer weather. We were treated to a colorful sunset before dropping back down into the valley for some night shooting.
Mono Lake, California
Until last weekend, it had been a while since I'd been out shooting under the full moon. A few years ago, I was able to get out nearly every month and shoot at least one moon night, but life seems to get in the way lately. I guess it's time to start figuring out how to make that happen again.
(This image was a 9 minute exposure taken at ISO 100 and f/16.)
I'm heading back to this area on Friday and I'm really looking forward to Subaru camping, hanging with friends, shooting and being back in nature.
This ranch was founded by an Italian settler and dates back to the late 1800's. The original buildings included a small six room house and a single horse barn. In the early 1900's, the house was expanded to fourteen rooms, the barn was also expanded and a blacksmith shop was constructed. It eventually became the one of the largest ranch in the areal in terms of livestock and produce.
The owner and founder died in 1933 and by the 1940's most of the ancestors had left. The ranch now belongs to the Forest Service.
The view across Topaz Lake, Nevada on a foggy, brisk January morning.
Former fish hatchery, Mono Lake Basin.
Living quarters beside a former fish hatchery near Mono Lake.
Mono Lake, California.
Night. Full moon. 90 seconds. Lit by moonlight.
(Night. Full moon. 12 minutes. Lit by moonlight.)
When I shoot at night, I shoot a series of "test shots" to check exposure and make sure my composition is right. This means that I crank my ISO up to 1600 or 3200 and take a shot for between 5-20 seconds, depending on the light, and then multiply out my exposure as I drop it down to an ISO I prefer to shoot at. (Example: If my test shot is ISO 1600 @ 10 seconds, and I'm happy with the exposure, I could shoot it at those settings, or try: ISO 800 @ 20 seconds, ISO 400 @ 40 seconds, ISO 200 @ 80 seconds or ISO 100 @ 160 seconds.)
On this particular night, I shot this test shot at ISO 1600 and was pretty happy with the exposure, so I dropped the ISO down to 200 and shot a 60 second exposure.
(6 seconds. f/8. ISO 1600.)
(60 seconds. f/8. ISO 200.)
In the end, I actually liked the test shot better, because in the 60 second image, the clouds were moving quickly, which caused a lot of motion blur in the clouds.
I used to delete most of my test shots when I shot with the 5DMkI because the noise at 800 or 1600 was so awful, I wouldn't share the images online, much less print them. Now with the 5DMkIII, I keep all test shots, especially if they're shot at 1600.
Next step, do some test prints at night of ISO 1600 and see how they print at various sizes.
This Eastern Sierra Mine was built in 1909 at an elevation of 8,000ft. It remained in operation until 1938.
(Night. Full moon. 3 minutes. Lit by moonlight.)
When I peered into this building at Bodie State Historic Park, I was pleasantly surprised that the room appeared as though it hadn't been touched since the town was abandoned. The quilt draped over the bed frame really struck a chord in me and reminded me why I love documenting our forgotten world.
The dinosaurs take back Mono Lake.
Moonlight hits this old mine during blue hour.
Established in 1909, this Eastern Sierra Mine was built in the mountains at just over 8,000 ft. The property contained a mill, mine offices, employee bunk house and general store. The ore mined here was transfered to a nearby town via a tram system. It was the last mine to close in the district, remaining in operation until 1938.