Flying Stars and Clouds

“Surrealism, the mystery of place, solitude, and a heightened sense of the nature of things – night photography seems a worthy vehicle, a ritual to express these themes.”

The above was quoted from Tim Baskerville, who has been photographing at night for more than 25 years, and currently teaches night photography at University of California. He originally curated The Nocturnes, a Night Photography exhibit, in 1991, and founded the subsequent critically acclaimed Web site – http://www.thenocturnes.com – in 1996.

Before I went to the beaches (see my blogs on the beaches here and here), I spent a night at Obstruction Point, Olympic National Park, elevation 6200 feet, and had a great hike from there the next day (see my blog on the hike here). I didn’t sleep that night and stayed awake to photograph the nature of things, the stars, clouds and peaks, under bright moonlight. When you are at that altitude and in total solitude, with the stars twinkling and the clouds moving above a panorama of high peaks, your sense of the nature of things is indeed heightened and you start to feel you are part of such things. There is a strange mixture of enjoyment, awe and fear in such feeling.

Technical notes:

The above two pictures are blended images of multiple exposures, each for 4 minutes. Color and hue are modified in post processing to heighten the surreal nocturnal feel.

The second one was a work with my newly bought Rokinon 14mm f2.8 ultra-wide lens. It costs only $400, and is quite sharp but the marks on the focus ring are not accurate. This lens works great for startrail photography, as it can cover a very large part of the sky and its 2.8 maximum aperture enables lower ISO setting and therefore better image quality.

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