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The Equestrian Trail

 

The Equestrian Trail. Normally I wouldn’t have produced this image. There were clouds moving in and an hour after this image the entirety of the sky was covered and there was lightning playing about in the sky. Any rain that may have accompanied the clouds rolling into the Moab area evaporated before reaching the ground, although it would have been welcomed in the 106-degree heat. I was headed back home after 10 days on the road, sleeping at the highly rated, if somewhat damaged, Hotel Jimmy Envoy. 

The next night I would be in Victor Colorado and then home after 5,200 miles of driving in 11 days. I had seen this scenic little spot the day after descending from “On Top of The World” the scene of Jimmy’s near death experience. I made a note to try to catch this spot on the way back home if possible.

This is actually taken from on top of about a 500-foot ridge that has a horse trail that leads up to it. You can see the horse trail continuing on to the right. To the left, there was a jeep trail that went to parts unknown. I would have explored it but with the damage to Jimmy, he was in no condition to go trail riding.

As I had climbed up the steep ridge to get to this spot the clouds and storm were rolling in with distant lightning flashing occasionally on the right side of the picture. I quickly set up to start imaging before the clouds rolled in. As I was watching the camera working, I saw lightning silhouetting the left plateau. I was curious how it would look and figured it would make the image not usable. When I looked at the camera after the image finished I was shocked at the flashes and how interesting they looked in the images, truly a picture worth processing after all. 

Focused with the Dave Lane Astrophotography Reveal Filter and protected from dew by the Dew Destroyer both available at:

http://davelaneastrophotography.com

42 images ISO 8,000, f1.4, 50mm Sigma Art

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The White Throne at Zion National Park. 

 

The White Throne at Zion National Park. 

Two years ago I came face to face with failure. I had gotten a pass arranged through the Department of the Interior to go into Zion after dark. I was excited to set up and get some great shots. Having been super convinced I would ace this and nail some shots so I didn’t really even make a plan. Then I started shooting. Now, most people who have followed my images know I can get light out of about anything. I’ve used dozens of tricks and ideas from my deep space imaging to pull light up that was pretty feeble.

One look at the images in the camera though told a scary story. They were extremely dark and unusable. 

This was my first attempt to shoot from the bottom of as steep a canyon as Zion. The narrow gap exposing the sky had cut a huge amount of the starlight in the sky from getting into the canyon. Probably 75% or more of the starlight I normally use was being blocked. I tried upping the ISO dramatically and the image was peppered with green,  red and blue “hot pixels.” While it was close to bright enough the pixelation was dramatic. I tried all the ideas I could think of and only managed one so-so image that took dozens of hours of work to just look “pretty good.” I bet I spent 50 hours on that one image. 

As painful as that was, as frustrated as I was, I learned some new ideas to try. So I’ve been biding my time, waiting, learning, remembering what Zion had done to me. It wouldn’t do to just do the area by the visitors center that is fairly lit up and more wide open. It would have to be the depths of the canyon to be able to claim victory over the dark side. 

So in June, I was ready. Luckily I took this right before a massive fire started just north of Zion. I missed that by a scant few days.

I arranged for the permit and waited. The last buses didn’t leave the area till long after dark, which surprised me. I had ridden the bus up to scout earlier in the day which had topped out at 96 degrees. I headed to my first location which was Big Bend with a peekaboo view of the White Throne (white on the right) and waited. I heard a clicking noise as dark gathered about me and I clicked on my headlamp to see a fox no more than 20 feet from me coming over the top rim of grass into the parking lot I was sitting in. We eyed each other for a moment and then he turned and disappeared back over the curb and into the grass. Big Bend is a little more wide open than many spots in Zion so I decided to use that to my advantage and to test if I could suceed.

Finally, it was pitch black in the canyon. Time to get to work. I took a couple of test shots. Yes, the detail was there I was running the ISO at an astounding 10,000 opened up the lens to full 1.4 and started exposing. I was getting the detail I needed, but the green, red and blue speckle was there when I zoomed in. I had new ways I knew would at least help ameliorate the issue. As it turned out it did it quite well.

So this image is a personal triumph for me. For 2 years I plotted the demise of Zion National Park and ultimately I made it happen to my satisfaction, and hopefully yours as well.

 

42 images ISO 10,000, f1.4, 50mm Sigma Art

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Airy Reflections at the Great Fountain of Yellowstone

Airy Reflections at the Great Fountain of Yellowstone. It was a still, cool night with temperatures the lowest in the entire US after a very hot day. The mercury was hovering at 34 degrees. Fortunately, the air was still and sullen. The reflections were impressive but the airglow in the sky was literally insane. The airglow was the best I have ever seen. It happened one other night on this trip in a place called Toroweap or Tuweap. The airglow there was strong but here at Yellowstone, it was almost impossible to describe. The Tuweap image needs some work but it will be a spectacular image when finished in my opinion.

The bleachers that are seen in the distance give a great view of the fountain at sundown, when occasionally it coincides with an eruption it can be a glorious view.

This late evening/early morning shot turned out really well, I think. It would have been awesome to catch an eruption in the image as they can be up to 200 feet tall. The reflections were blown out so it is enhanced and shifted right.

After this shot, I went to a flat area without trees or geysers to take some more shots of just the Milky Way. I took several panoramas of just the Milky Way because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing in the camera. The airglow was off the charts. As I was finishing up the last image, I was sitting in Jimmy with the camera/tripod just outside the door.

I had heard some earlier thumps. Now thumps and gurgles at night are nothing new in Yellowstone. I hear them constantly while filming. Splashes and seemingly close pops can mimic bears or other critters so it’s enough to keep one on edge in the dark. Now, however, the thumps were growing in sound and volume. I thought something was wrong with Jimmy.

As the last panorama (42 images) finished up I got out of Jimmy and turned on my headlamp and was shocked.

I was surrounded. Surrounded by a herd of bison. 100s of them were around Jimmy in all directions, some as close as 15-20 feet. They had come in the dark to drink from the river I was parked near. Since they seemed to be paying no attention to me I grabbed my gear, threw it in Jimmy and wove my way to safety,

I should have taken video on the way out. After having done $1,000+ worth of damage to Jimmy going to Top of The World, I decided discretion was the better part of valor and escaped before Jimmy could be headbutted into oblivion.

42 images f1.6, ISO 8000, 50mm

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Pick up Sticks?

 

 

As many of you know, I am a rock hound and love old mining structures. So I was in heaven in Victor Colorado, the veritable “City of Mines.” There were some great structures nearby that lined up well with the Milky Way and were insane in their complexity and visual interest. This is one of those views. Although the structure appears to defy gravity, a different view I am working on shows it as a much more substantial structure from a different angle. The foreground was shot with a setting 10% crescent moon, which I normally don’t do, but there were so many shots I wanted to get completed that I grew impatient. You can see the small town lights from Goldfield in the distance. I hope you will enjoy the image and do some research on the city of Victor Colorado. It’s a very interesting area and worthy of your time to read about.

This image was shot with the Dave Lane Astro Products Reveal Focus Filter. ISO 6400, f1.6, 50mm x 42

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DAVE LANE ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY AND SOLAR ECLIPSE WORKSHOP NEAR KANSAS CITY ON August 17-21 2017

Learn to take images like these and make your images stand out in a increasingly crowded field. Come see the Total Solar Eclipse Near the Workshop site as a bonus!


 


What you will learn:

  • How to focus your images properly for the Milky Way
  • How to combine images into a panorama with fantastic detail
  • How to shoot star trails and timelapse video.
  • How to bring light out from darkness
  • How to get sharp detail that is so hard with just star light
  • NO light painting needed.
  • Come see the Total Solar Eclipse just 100 miles away on Monday after Workshop

Sign Up Here


Astrovan 1-4 flatFarm 2-0 flat sigThe Workshop will take place in a dark sky location about 50 miles south of Kansas City. Here’s a couple images showing how nice and dark the skies are there.

Facilities: 2 bathrooms, running water with shower. Full electric, heat A/C, Big screen TV, PS4, PS3, XBox, multiple PCs and dual processor Mac Pro. High speed internet, full kitchen and more. Objects available for photo layouts. Multiple graveyards (one within 1 mile), abandoned church, 2 operating observatories, barns, ponds, hay fields, east / west roads and many more objects.


What you will get:

  • Dave Lane Astrophotography Focus Filter free
  • 3 nights under the stars with Dave guiding your efforts.
  • 4 days of computer instruction and tutorials on how to take and put together data for images.
  • Written workflows and materials to take home.
  • Suggestions and tips for perfect shots without years of trial and error.
  • 16 GB jump drive with 4 of Dave’s unpublished panoramas from last year you can put together and publish yourself. 100s of other images to practice stacking for an image.
  • Kansas City gourmet BBQ dinner catered by one of KC’s Top BBQ locations
  • Cookout dinner (weather permitting) with all the fixings.
  • Monday after Workshop we will drive to see the Total Eclipse, follow along and lets see it together.
  • Lodging with beds and breakfast available.

Sign Up Here


What people are saying about Dave’s Images:

Ridiculous Skills Unbelievable how is this possible? These images make me so happy.
The detail is unlike anything I have ever seen. . I cried upon viewing these images they are so beautiful. . I can feel the peace these images evoke.
Unlike any other night images  I can die happy now having seen this image I love love love what you are doing. Thank you.

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Dinosaurs! Actual Photograph – WTF?!? THE DINOSAURS AT NIGHT PROJECT #1.

 

Ever wonder what a dinosaur looked like at night? Wonder no more!

This is a real photograph, well actually its about 30 some photos stitched together. The foreground is a life-sized T-Rex model filmed with the Milky Way. So yes, this is an actual panoramic picture taken at the same location at the same time without any added light source for the purists amongst us.

I spent a lot of time to remove all trace of human artifacts from the pictures. Bridges, light pollution, railroad tracks, overhead power lines, giant power pylons, planes, satellite trails and more all were removed to make a scene that is as free as possible from modern life.

I did all of this to give you something that has never actually been seen but often imagined (at least by me.)

Why did I do this labor of love? Because I love dinosaurs, I mean who doesn’t? Since I was a child when I played with my little plastic dinosaurs and wondered about their world. What did it look like? What did they look like?

Finally, as I was sitting under the Milky Way in wildly remote areas, my mind switched to what would the sky have looked like then? With them in it? There are no realistic photos or even drawings that exist. Now they do. I have a whole series of these (10 images) I will be releasing over the next 10 weeks.

If you are in the media or you know a media outlet that may be interested in running with these let me know. I’d love someone to feature these as they will get increasingly better. I’m saving the best for last 🙂 Please enjoy, like and comment!

Tech: Canon 6D, 50mm f 1.4 ISO 8000 24 images sky, 9 ground.

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The Yellow Beasts. The Dinosaurs at Night Project #2.

 

The Yellow Beasts. The Dinosaurs at Night Project #2.

The Yellow Beasts are on the hunt. Another in the series of dinosaur panoramas I took. This one is just 9 images for the sky and 9 pictures of the ground. It was a different look for me and the Milky Way, just the core and south exposure in its proper place. These are shot from actual life-sized replicas of the dinosaurs so this photo and all of the dinosaur series are actual photographs.

I thought the Dinosaurs at Night Project was so much fun to do. Tonight I’ll be going to a school science night to give away a few 100 of these pictures to the kids, I’ll be very interested to see their reactions  Hopefully they won’t be too scared to go out in the desert for fear of being eaten by the big mean dinosaurs.

This series of dinosaur pictures will get better and better so stay tuned for all 10 of them. Once again no added light for these photos and all pictures shot in place at one time.

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White Pocket with a Little help From my friends

 

White Pocket Arizona with a little help from my friends! This nice image of White pocket was processed with more than a little help from my friends at the March 23rd Workshop in Kansas City. While we only had 1/2 of one night and a couple of hours the next to play with taking images, we had a ton of time for the meat of the Workshop, Processing Images! 

This image was done by my students (with me peeking over their shoulders and some final finishing details). I think they this a fantastic job and was pleased with how well they had absorbed the previous three panoramas we processed earlier. 

We had a great time and got to laugh at the silly comments I have heard from people. Was this taken in daylight, did you use the same Milky Way and other equally ridiculous comments. 

All in all, I think they got the better deal with more processing time. They also got four panoramas to work with and publish themselves. I’m anxious to see what they do with that data.

Please enjoy and comment on how you think they did with the data!

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Valley of the Toadstools.

 

Valley of the Toadstools.

Take nighttime Milky Way photos just like this in my March Kansas Workshop. See the end of the description for more details.

The Ah-shi-sle-pah wilderness study area is remarkable but dizzyingly hard to find. There are so many odd and weird formations. Toadstools by the score, petrified wood, fossils and in general a highly unusual geography that is very, very weird (so obviously I have to like it).

I had shot the nearby De-Na-Zin Wilderness before, and this is very much its little brother. The formations here are smaller and less dramatic but equally weird.

It turned out to be a beautiful night, a bit of a breeze but for May very pleasant. A coyote seemed my only companion of the night and even he stayed at a fair distance from the cameras. The only visible to the naked eye lights were from a couple of nearby oil wells. Fortunately, they were mostly behind me. May at 1 AM tends to be frigid in the desert but the temperature this night was only in the 50’s and a coat was enough to keep warm while clambering about.

There is no entrance or markings to find the study area. My GPS on my phone had listed the study area, but without finding an entrance, I had circled it probably 20 times. I felt the need to listen to Billy Prestons “Will it go Round in Circles” as the sun dipped lower and lower in the sky. Literally, with a flashlight, I saw a small sign with a BLM logo and took a chance. I arrived just as the sun was in its last throes and got a very quick look at the layout. I got out with a large flashlight and scouted around for some interesting spots.

As luck would have it, I was very close to a field of toadstools. I decided to take one image from up on top and then descend into the toadstools for some more close up shots (see later this week for one of those.) In all, I ended up with 4 shots from here that are otherworldly. If you can’t see the field of toadstools let me know and I’ll post a blowup of the main area. Also, you can see to the far right the modded camera recording the sky with an 85mm Zeiss lens.

Click below to see more about the rare chance to learn to do this yourself.

http://www.davelaneastrophotography.com/dave-lane-astrophotography-workshop-near-kansas-city-march-23-26-2017/

Specs: Canon 6Ds 63 images f1.8 ISO 8000

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Chattering.

 

Chattering. Learn to take images just like this one at my March 23 Workshop near Kansas City.

In May 2016 I found almost the entire west covered with clouds. I had been at the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Study Area in New Mexico taking images the night before and discovered that this area looked to be clear while the entire area west of this would be covered. Here is the TLDR version. It’s cold at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in May. I mean freezing your butt off cold.

I arrived early enough to scout around for a while, but the breeze and the 21-degree weather made my eyes water virtually instantly. I drove to a camping spot for Jimmy and waited for nightfall, and a good while beyond, till the Milky Way came up. Awakening after a bit of writing I headed out to the first shooting location. It had seemed cold as I started to get the gear out. I checked Jimmy’s dash, and the temperature read 7. Plus a 15-20 mph wind. I set up two cameras, one with a Zeiss Otus 85mm Lens to capture the sky and my non-modded 6D to capture the ground.

Even with an undershirt, shirt, sweatshirt, winter coat, gloves and hat I was cold. The deck where I set up was sparkly and icy in the dancing headlamp light. By the time I got both panos started my ears were already numb and red, my teeth were chattering. Five minutes went by, then ten, I considered hopping to keep warm, but I knew it would shake the cameras. I finally slowly walked to the parking lot and then ran at top speed for what seemed like a long way but was probably 10 car lengths 🙂

It was enough to warm me up for the next 10 minutes while the cameras finished. I ended up with 45 images of the sky and 18 of the ground making this the largest panorama I’ve produced so far.

I hope you enjoy it. I was happy I never saw another human being out at 1 AM. I gave up after the one shot and retreated to sleep and some warmth after driving 500 miles to take one picture.

Check the link below for details on how to take images just like this. Get way ahead of other photographers really fast!

http://wp.me/P60YkZ-8O

Tech 63 images at f1.8 ISO 8000