Tag Archives: moon

Dancing in the Moonlight

“It’s caught me in it’s spotlight. It’s alright it’s alright the moonlight”. A Thin Lizzy hit although I tend to better remember the great Smashing Pumpkins cover. Be thankful that my new version – Shooting in the Moonlight – only exists by my pen (well keyboard) not my voice!

Shooting images in the Moonlight lit only by a full moon is something I wanted to do for a while. You have to get away from most light pollution (cities etc) and find yourself somewhere nice and dark so you can capture a glorious night sky featuring magical stars and a nice moonlit landscape. In April I found myself camping in the Namibian Veld (Afrikaans for bush) on a night with a full moon and wanted to experiment with Shooting in the Moonlight. This is basically what I ended up with after a few tests:

Moonlit Namibia Veld

Namibia Moonlit Veld
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

This is in pitch darkness lit entirely by the moon. The image itself is fairly boring but it serves as an example of how a full moon can easily light up a landscape and create a great otherworldly light along with a massive amount of beautiful stars! This image was a 25 second exposure at f/4.0 iso 1250, a full moon is bright but not exactly the burning midday sun. You do need very long exposures and high iso to capture this. A 25 second exposure is too much actually, the earth has already rotated enough to create small star trails, so a faster lens would come in very handy here.

Now that I look at the image I really should have walked up the hill and put some nice rocks close up in the foreground! My mind was frozen as it gets so cold in the veld after sunset. Ah, always great things to learn and improve on. Come next opportunity I hope to have a winning moonlit shot to show you or at least an improved one! Anyone wishing to share some moonlit shooting experiences, please do comment. Take me out to the black!

Moonlit video: For some out of this world time lapse images featuring magical stars and light, this brilliant video by Tom @ Timescapes is pure genius.

Capturing Manning Gorge

The Kimberley is home to many great gorges and one of the best known is Manning Gorge. It is very easy to access from the Gibb River Road, has a huge camp ground with a toilet and shower block (powered by a rather noisy generator that is turned off around sunset) so it’s quite popular and you certainly won’t be camping alone here. Slightly too busy for my taste Manning Gorge is still a gorgeous (gee that joke is getting old) place. This is a duotoned view of sitting on the banks of the billabong in the middle of the day. It’s a boiling 40+ degrees but the rock wall provides a nice shady spot:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Manning Gorge and Gum tree in duotone
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Manning Gorge is split into Upper and Lower Manning and the camp ground is at Lower Manning. To get to the Upper gorge it’s a great 3 km bush walk; but first you have to swim across the river floating your clothes, camera etc. in a foam box pushing it in front of you as you swim. Water is not all that appealing to me or my camera so I chose to explore only the Lower gorge this time!

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Manning Gorge in Moonlight
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Photographing gorges

It takes a lot of practice and work getting good at shooting gorges. They’re big and beautiful but really hard to fit into a composition that shows them as big and beautiful. I always wish I could levitate (walking on water hasn’t worked for me) in the middle of the river shooting down the gorge with the gorge walls on both sides. But often you’re stuck shooting from the banks of a river or billabong and also you’re fighting the Kimberley light as one side of the gorge is bound to be in deep dark shadows and the other in extremely bright sunshine. You really have to work to find good compositions.

The answer as always: get up for dawn and stay for dusk (and bring mossie repellant!) My Finding a Tree post was from around Manning gorge at dawn and this is a Lower Manning Gorge panorama in very late dusk light:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Manning Gorge at Dusk Panorama
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

This little spot proved to work very well and I was fortunately the only one there. If you’re at Manning then walk down to the river at sunset, turn left and keep going until you find yourself standing underneath a rock wall and almost in the water. Wait for that glorious warm and red dusk light to warm the sky and you have your shot!

I am working on my Kimberley gallery at the moment so come along as I develop and upload; there are many more gorgeous Kimberley gorge shots to come!

PS. There are some beautiful old and very large Boab trees at the camp ground. Beautiful old trees some bloody idiot campers have carved their names into! People carving their names into trees surely should be fed to the crocs!

Clouds I could touch

Foggy conditions are magic for landscape photographers; hard to predict but when you’re lucky enough to catch it in just the right place and with just the right place you know you have struck gold. Fog adds an otherworldly sense of mystery and beauty to an otherwise mundane everyday setting. It is like being inside a dream; with a cloud that you can touch.

Visiting family in the countryside this weekend I woke up at 5.45am and peered out the window. Not only was the fog as thick as pea soup and shrouding most of the landscape, there was also a full moon glowing brightly just before the sunrise. I donned shoes and camera; this was too good to miss. With little time left before sunrise I quickly captured these great exercises in simplicity:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Trees in the Fog
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Full Moon in Fog
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Solitary Tree in Fog
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Shooting in fog is fairly straight forward but watch your exposure. The fog can trick the light meter and cause underexposure. On the other hand you definitely do not want to burn out any of the delicate highlights so watch your histogram closely, don’t overexpose any of the channels. You also need to work fast as this sort of fog will very quickly be burned away by the rising sun. This shooting session lasted only 15 minutes.

As the sun was rising I ended with a panorama showing the whole scene. I like it for the light and atmosphere but the composition I find a bit lacking. I would normally never ever include power lines in a shot as I hate anything man made in my landscape shots, but here they’re below the horizon and they sort of walk across the scene disappearing into the fog and horizon nicely so I left them in.

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Remember to type image title!
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

“It’s a fake” – the digital art version

Finally; after processing these I wondered what I would get if I took the Solitary Tree in Fog photo and “borrowed” the moon from the Full Moon shot. The result is this rather nice composite photo.

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

The Moon & The Tree – digital art
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

I usually don’t add or remove major content from my photos; this image is digital art and not a photo and an exception to my general rule. In this case I had to see the composite result and I must admit I find it slightly magical. It was 15 minutes of magic. 15 minutes inside a dream!

PS. I slept another hour after this shoot and had a nightmare that I was in Perth and my memory card was erased due to the camera getting wet. It was vivid enough to make me check the camera as I woke up. I reckon it’s safe to say you’re passionate about photography when nightmares involves hero shots getting deleted!

Good night Sun, Good evening Moon

Charles Baudelaire once wrote:

“This life is a hospital where every patient is possessed with the desire to change beds; one man would like to suffer in front of the stove, and another believes that he would recover his health beside the window.
It always seems to me that I should feel well in the place where I am not, and this question of removal is one which I discuss incessantly with my soul.”

Being eternally restless I have this ongoing conversation with my soul and it appears I need to change hospital beds with increasing rate. I am aching to go to on my next photo trip. Back to the heat, the outback, the dust and the untouched magical landscapes. I live for capturing those moments. Copenhagen is familiar and thus boring presently but can fortunately still surprise me. Friday night Nature the Artist treated me to this special sunset and moonrise, click to see large size:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Moonrise & Sunset at Lake Peblinge
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

This Moonrise & Sunset was a bit of a lucky punch but then luck favours the prepared. Circling the lake half an hour before sunset listening to music with my head in the clouds; suddenly all the elements in the composition come together and my internal “photo!” critical event is trapped (perhaps I’ve worked in IT for too long). I setup shop and hope the clouds stay around, pick up colour and please do not block the moon. Nature was kind to me letting all the elements stay in place and gently lit the scene with delicate soft light and dusty colours. The composition is my classic style ‘I shoot landscapes even in a city; I ignore that they are buildings instead of rocks’.

Less is more and vertical stitching

This is one of those shoots where Nature did all the work. The RAW files are perfect, I only set the white balance I wanted and added some slight saturation. I developed the RAW files in Lightroom 2.0 and used my normal PTgui stitching workflow for this – see tutorial – with one difference. This photo is 4 horizontal shots stitched vertically so for projection you must choose ‘Transverse Cylindrical”. I lightened the shadows slightly in Photoshop and created a vignette.

Attempting to attract the eyes of people & potential customers on the web using small images on a web page means most of us are sometimes guilty of over saturating shots. Colours are the easiest way to attract eyes to a small thumbnail so we sometimes go to 11 with the colour volume. In this case I wanted to preserve the very delicate soft subtle light and colours so I kept the volume down so to speak. It may appear understated on screen but in a large print this is a gorgeous look. Super saturated sRGB colours do not always transfer well or look natural in CMYK so it’s a good idea to keep the volume down a bit. Sometimes more is more but often less is more!

…17 days to take off…