I happily headed out into the
cold December night. With the clear skies above, the temps were freezing and in
the 20's. I experimented with a number of compositions along the shoreline, but
this rock had a magnetic pull on me and before long, I was set up before
her making images.
For this image, I have composed the scene with the moon setting behind the rock. Using a specialized camera and lens, I capture the star light dynamically in just 25 seconds. For maybe just 2-3 seconds, I use my headlamp to paint-with-light the front of the rock, just to add a bit of light to it. This really sets it off!
This is a difficult image to make. First, of course there is the being-there. Outside in the 20's on a random beach until 2:30 in the morning, alone and sleepy. To capture the star light is tricky, even with the right gear. And then the painting-with-light, out of the dozen or more frames, this was the only one where I really got that spot on. It is very easy to use too much or too little or not to have the light spread out right, which takes away from the effect as opposed to adding to it. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of this image though, was with the tides and the wet sand. Every few minutes or so, a wave would come quite a bit further up the beach, then recede leaving the sand wet and reflective. I'd follow the receding water down into the "reflective zone", compose accurately as quickly as possible, focus (challenging to say the least, alone in the dark with no assistance at wide open apertures!), and get a 25 second exposure off before the next surge of water. All the while, the sand under the tripod is soft and sinks under the weight of the tripod, resulting in a high percentage of blurry images. Add a window of 20 minutes due to the fact that the moon is setting, and this shots becomes extremely challenging. In the end, I got the shot and it becomes that much more rewarding.
While photographing this image, I opted for a high kelvin temperature for the white balance which gives the image its warm tone. Just because it was cold doesn't mean I have to translate it as such! I preferred this look, making the moonlight almost appear as the sun, but with the stars above...the scene becomes truly ethereal, just the way I like it.