Milky Way Skies Over Rock Cut
High up on Trail Ridge Road, a spot called Rock Cut allows photographers to position Longs Peak in the background just beyond the foreground rocks - a very common perspective for sunset in Rocky Mountain National Park. And with my unique nighttime perspective, I also view it as a great location to position the Milky Way in the skies above Rock Cut.
So in a recent night photography workshop, I made sure to go ahead and stop here at sunset to give my students a chance to shoot at sunset and to help them to get more familiar with the location in the light of day. That way, when we returned under dark Milky Way skies, we'd have the best chance of making the most of the foreground rocks.
Later, after our success with the Milky Way reflections on Lake Irene, we headed back up on Trail Ridge Road to Rock Cut. And with the Milky Way rising up above the vertical rocks, it looked like things were lining up very nicely. So we proceeded to pick good locations to make the most of both the foreground rocks and the Milky Way skies above, set our focus, dialed in our settings and then (without moving the cameras & tripods), we exposed again while I did some light painting.
Using the same settings for Milky Way skies only with some additional light painting added in during the exposure allowed us to capture both Milky Way stars and light painted rocks in one, single exposure. For people who aren't highly skilled in blending multiple exposures in post-processing, this is a pretty big deal.
And just like we did earlier at Lake Irene, I varied the technique I used until I could make sure all of the students got a great shot. I found it especially interesting to see that with the right amount of subtle light, some interesting colors started to appear in the rocks - adding even more interest to the foreground.
I captured this image with my Nikon D800 and Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 lens at ISO 6400 and f/2.8 for 30 seconds. For light painting, I used a Brinkmann Dual Xenon Spotlight and in post-processing, I used Star Spikes Pro 2 to add the star spikes to the brightest of stars.
August 22nd, 2013
Viewed 70 Times - Last Visitor from Castle Rock, CO on 05/19/2015 at 11:42 PM