In February of this year I took a camping trip to Yosemite in hopes of seeing Horsetail Fall illuminated by the setting sun. Unfortunately while I was there the show was less than I was hoping for. There just wasn’t enough water flowing for the sun to light up. Fortunately for me I was still in Yosemite and there was plenty to see and photograph.
One of my favorite photos from the trip mostly happened by accident. The first night I was in the park I decided that I wanted to try my hand at some night photography. I had not done much night photography in recent years so I was not exactly sure where to begin. I started with what I remembered back in the days of using my fathers venerableCanon AE-1 Program. I locked the shutter open and hoped for the best. I took some test shots and had all sorts of issues with focus, exposure, noise, and light from cars reflecting off of my lens.
I made some adjustments and by the third night I started seeing some better results but still nothing that I liked very much. I was tired and it was getting late but I decided to try one more picture at a different location. I drove to the new location, took a couple of test shots to make sure the picture was framed the way I wanted, and then I locked the shutter open and waited. Cold and tired I waited for what felt like hours, in truth was only 25 minutes, closed the shutter, and then turned in. I didn’t even look at the picture until I got home the next day. When I finally did look at the picture I was astonished to see that the image was framed to put the north star fixed in the upper right corner of the picture. While setting up for the shot I did not even consider where the north star was. I feel quite lucky to have captured an image where you can see the stars circling around the north star above Yosemite Fall…
Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T2i Lens: EF20mm f/2.8 USM 1500 Seconds f/10 ISO 100
As much as I love this image it is by no means perfect. In fact technically speaking it probably isn’t that good and there are a lot of things that I wish I had done differently. I wish that instead of one picture I would have taken many and stacked the images to produce more pronounced star trails. I wish that I had shot for 2 or more hours and not just 25 minutes. Finally, I wish the image was better exposed (it is a little under exposed). But even with all of its shortcomings it is still one of my favorite images from the trip.