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Into the darkness

Into the darkness

The time: Believe it or not, Yosemite has a night life. But it doesn’t involve dance floors or clubs. Bring your tripod and a trusty flashlight, and take a starlight walk around meadows and waterfalls.

The shot: Be prepared to experiment with long exposure times on your cameras. Set the shutter switch to bulb, attach a cable release (to minimize vibration) and mount the camera on a tripod. Even it doesn’t seem like there’s much light, the stars and moon will produce amazing results. I usually set my camera’s ISO setting to 640 or 800, leave the aperture wide open, and expose the frames for as long as it takes to see the stars, and rocks. Exposure times can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes, sometimes even longer.

The effect: It’s worth losing sleep to get these shots. With longer time exposures, the stars begin to track across the frame and a jet or two may leave a few red and white streaks across the frame. Stars add a dazzling element to the composition of Half Dome or Yosemite Falls, and skies often render hues of deep cobalt blue or a slight magenta touch.

The tip: Go ahead and get up early to shoot sunrise, but then rest up for a late-night shoot because the real photographic fun happens after dark.


Magical ‘moonbows’

Dazzling dogwood

The pinhole challenge

Slow and splashy

Scale it back


1 Comment

  1. June 26, 2012, 10:47 pm

    Hi Mr. Boster. I googled your name after my cousin told me there was a photo on the net that you had taken of my mom working at a medical clinic drawing blood. I've been enjoying these photo pages and am finding your tips very helpful. I am also a photographer. I've been doing concert photography as a hobby for about 5 years and been trying out other forms such as night photography (explains why I'm on this page). Anyway, thanks for sharing your tips and photos with the world.
    Samuel Westre


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