Thursday, May 16, 2019

Finding Your Way Back at Night

Little white LED "Ball" lights were used to find my way to and from these hoodoos in Goblin Valley, Utah. I also used yellow colored ball lights for low-level accent lighting behind the hoodoos. Some were placed under white plastic drinking cups to produce a soft, omnidirectional glow. 

Goblin Valley hoodoo maze
Returning to your pre-scouted location: Scouting for a nighttime photo location can difficult even in the daytime if you are in maze like Goblin Valley State Park, Utah (enlarge to see the people at the bottom of this inset photo). Finding you way back to the chosen the spot for the final Milky Way alignment can be nearly impossible without leaving a marked trail! What you need are electronic "Hansel and Gretel" bread crumbs—not the ones in the famed story that were eaten by the birds, causing the poor children to wander!

LED Ball Lights can be your electronic "bread crumbs!" Strategically placed, they will light your way to your pre-scouted shooting location and guide you back for your return. I've decided to nicknamed them "eCrumbs." Although I typically use tracks I've created in Gaia GPS to find my way back on long pre-scouted trails, eCrumbs work much better for shorter trails, and to mark strategic turns where one might get confused at night.

LED "Ball" lights - only about $0.15 each

Turned on by pulling tab between batteries

Quite bright at night - battery life is 2 to 4 days

Ball light in daylight marking the trail 

Two ball lights mark the trail at night

CAUTION: The LED Ball lights can attract critters! In a recent nightscape photo shoot at Rainbow Bridge near the Utah / Arizona border, we discovered that at nearly every spot we placed a light on the ground or a rock there was a scorpion next to the ball light!

Brick coke ovens lit inside by ball
lights. Photo by Robert McKendrick
Multiple Uses: These LED Ball Lights can also be used to mark the locations of where you've pre-placed Low-Level-Lighting (LLL) in the daytime, so you can return and turn these lights on. I've also placed the little lights under the tripods of cameras doing timelapse sequences so I can find them in the dark without using headlamps or flashlights. My friend, Robert McKendrick, who first introduced me to these little lights uses them to do LLL accent lighting behind foreground features or to light inside these pioneer coke ovens in central Utah. You can use the white LED color lights and wrap any color filter around them, like he did using a warming gel, or you can purchase the LED color you prefer (I prefer the yellow and white LEDs). You can control the intensity of the light by adding or subtracting the number of ball lights you use at each location, and by used diffusion tools like upside down white plastic drinking cups or tissue paper.

WHERE TO BUY: These lights are typically sold under the description of "LED Mini Round Ball Balloon Lights" or "Ball Lights for Paper Lanterns" or "Balloon Party Wedding Decoration Lights." They are usually sold in packages of 50, 100 or 200 lights. Some of the lights I've gotten in the past have been defective (about 10-20% didn't turn on when I pulled the tab). I'm currently buying my White LED Ball lights from this Amazon 'Prime' vendor, and have yet to get a defective light. I get my Yellow LED Ball lights from this Amazon 'Prime' vendor, and have had the same satisfaction (they also carry Blue, Green, Red and Multicolored lights).

Pick Up Your Trash! As I return from my shooting locations, I pick up my lights, one by one and place them in a zip-lock sandwich bag that contains the little tabs (that were pulled to turn on the lights). You can place the tabs back in between the two little batteries and reuse the ball lights at another time. Two or three reuses is about max, as the light only has about 50% of its original brightness by the end of 72 hours of use.

Water Resistant?  I recently got rained out at a nightscape photo location. As I headed back to the car, I gathered up each little ball light, some partially covered with rain water and mud, but every one was still glowing!

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Saturday, March 2, 2019

Nightscaper Conference Commemorative Poster

Nightscaper Conference Commemorative Poster 

Special limited edition run item for registered, Nightscaper 2019 attendees.

Luster printed 18"x24" commemorative poster for the first annual, 2019 Nightscaper Conference, taking place in Moab, Utah. This poster was designed by graphic artist and #LeaveItBetter activist, Phill Monson, who will also be at the conference exhibiting his unique outdoor designs on hats, shirts and stickers.

Note: this is a pre-order item and will be delivered at the conference and will not be shipped (however, a mailing tube will be provide to protect your poster inside your luggage).

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Saturday, February 16, 2019

NightScape Photo Contest sponsored by Pictureline

A single exposure "NightScape" taken in the White Pocket region

A NightScape Photography Contest sponsored by Pictureline 

1st PLACE PRIZE: Free 1-week rental of a camera body and a lens
2nd PLACE PRIZE: Free 4-weekdays rental of a camera body OR a lens
The 2 WINNING IMAGES will also be featured on @roycebairphoto

Check out Pictureline's RENTAL department for their list of photo equipment. Pictureline is the main sponsor of the 2019 NightScaper Conference in Moab, Utah.

JUDGING will be done by the Pictureline staff.


  1. Enter up to three (3) “NightScape” photos (any nighttime sky with a landscape foreground) by using the Instagram #PicturelineNightScape hashtag.
  2. Tag 3 other people in the comments of the @roycebairphoto Instagram post bearing the above image.
  3. Follow @pictureline on Instagram.


  • Contest begins at 12:01 AM MST on February 18, 2019 and ends at 11:59 PM MST on February 22, 2019. Only “NightScape” photos posted on Instagram with the #PicturelineNightScape hashtag are eligible to win.
  • The date the photo was taken or created is not important, but the photo must be the sole creative work of the contest submitter.
  • Contestants submitting more than three (3) images (via the use of the #PicturelineNightScape hashtag) will be disqualified.
  • The Pictureline judges will determine the winners of this contest, and their decision is final and cannot be disputed. 
  • Contest winners will be announced here and via Direct Messaging, on or before March 1, 2019.
  • Winners must claim and use their rental prize on or before August 1, 2019, or they will automatically forfeit their prize.
  • Distributions of prizes may subject to rental equipment availability.
  • Winners are responsible for any rental shipping charges or applicable taxes.
  • Employees of Pictureline, Inc. and Stock Solution, Inc. (Royce Bair Photo), and their family members are not eligible to submit images for this contest.
Additional contest rules:


  1. Eligibility: This Campaign is open only to those who submit images via the Instagram #PicturelineNightScape hashtag and who are 18 years of age or older as of the date of entry. The Campaign is only open to everyone of legal age, and is void where prohibited by law. Employees of Pictureline, Inc. its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, and suppliers, (collectively the “Employees”), and immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of Employees are not eligible to participate in the Campaign. The Campaign is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited.
  2. Agreement to Rules: By participating, the Contestant (“You”) agree to be fully unconditionally bound by these Rules, and You represent and warrant that You meet the eligibility requirements. In addition, You agree to accept the decisions of Pictureline, Inc. as final and binding as it relates to the content of this Campaign.
  3. Campaign Period: Entries will be accepted online starting on 12:01 AM MST on February 18, 2019 and ending 11:59 PM MST on February 22, 2019. All online entries must be received by 11:59 PM MST on February 22, 2019.
  4. How to Enter: The Campaign must be entered by submitting an entry via the Instagram #PicturelineNightScape hashtag. The entry must fulfill all Campaign requirements, as specified, to be eligible to win a prize. Entries that are incomplete or do not adhere to the rules or specifications may be disqualified at the sole discretion of [your company name]. You may enter up to three (3) “NightScape” photos (any nighttime sky with a landscape foreground) by using the #PicturelineNightScape hashtag. You must tag three (3) other people. You may not enter more times than indicated by using multiple email addresses, identities, or devices in an attempt to circumvent the rules. If You use fraudulent methods or otherwise attempt to circumvent the rules, your submission may be removed from eligibility at the sole discretion of Pictureline, Inc.
  5. Prizes: The Winner(s) of the Campaign (the “Winner”) will receive [list prizes and approximate retail value]. Actual/appraised value may differ at time of prize award. The specifics of the prize shall be solely determined by [your company name]. No cash or other prize substitution shall be permitted except at Pictureline's discretion. The prize is nontransferable. Any and all prize-related expenses, including without limitation any and all federal, state, and/or local taxes, shall be the sole responsibility of Winner. No substitution of prize or transfer/assignment of prize to others or request for the cash equivalent by Winner is permitted. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission for Pictureline, Inc. to use Winner’s name, likeness, and entry for purposes of advertising and trade without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.
  6. Odds: The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.
  7. Winner Selection and Notification: Winner will be selected by [a random drawing or by community vote] under the supervision of [your company name]. Winner will be notified online and by Instagram's Direct Messaging within five (5) days following selection of Winner. Pictureline, Inc. shall have no liability for Winner’s failure to receive notices due to spam, junk e-mail or other security settings or for Winner’s provision of incorrect or otherwise non-functioning contact information. If Winner cannot be contacted, is ineligible, fails to claim the prize within 180 days from the time award notification was sent, or fails to timely return a completed and executed declaration and release as required, the prize may be forfeited and an alternate Winner selected. Receipt by Winner of the prize offered in this Campaign is conditioned upon compliance with any and all federal, state, and local laws and regulations. ANY VIOLATION OF THESE OFFICIAL RULES BY WINNER (AT [your company name]‘S SOLE DISCRETION) WILL RESULT IN WINNER’S DISQUALIFICATION AS WINNER OF THE CAMPAIGN, AND ALL PRIVILEGES AS WINNER WILL BE IMMEDIATELY TERMINATED.
  8. Rights Granted by You: By entering this content (e.g., photo, video, text, etc.), You understand and agree that Pictureline, Inc., anyone acting on behalf of Pictureline, Inc., and Pictureline, Inc.'s licensees, successors, and assigns, shall have the right, where permitted by law, to print, publish, broadcast, distribute, and use in any media now known or hereafter developed, in perpetuity and throughout the World, without limitation, your entry, name, portrait, picture, voice, likeness, image, statements about the Campaign, and biographical information for news, publicity, information, trade, advertising, public relations, and promotional purposes without any further compensation, notice, review, or consent. DESPITE THE FOREGOING, PICTURELINE, INC WILL NOT KNOWINGLY USE YOUR ENTRY FOR ANY PUBLICATION OR PROMOTION THAT IS NOT DIRECTLY RELATED TO THIS CONTEST. By entering this content, You represent and warrant that your entry is an original work of authorship, and does not violate any third party’s proprietary or intellectual property rights. If your entry infringes upon the intellectual property right of another, You will be disqualified at the sole discretion of Pictureline, Inc. If the content of your entry is claimed to constitute infringement of any proprietary or intellectual proprietary rights of any third party, You shall, at your sole expense, defend or settle against such claims. You shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless Pictureline, Inc. from and against any suit, proceeding, claims, liability, loss, damage, costs or expense, which Pictureline, Inc. may incur, suffer, or be required to pay arising out of such infringement or suspected infringement of any third party’s right.
  9. Terms & Conditions: Pictureline, Inc. reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Campaign should virus, bug, non-authorized human intervention, fraud, or other cause beyond [your company name]’s control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, or proper conduct of the Campaign. In such case, Pictureline, Inc. may select the Winner from all eligible entries received prior to and/or after (if appropriate) the action taken by Pictureline, Inc. Pictureline, Inc. reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operation of the Campaign or website or violates these Terms & Conditions. Pictureline, Inc. has the right, in its sole discretion, to maintain the integrity of the Campaign, to void votes for any reason, including, but not limited to: multiple entries from the same user from different IP addresses; multiple entries from the same computer in excess of that allowed by Campaign rules; or the use of bots, macros, scripts, or other technical means for entering. Any attempt by an entrant to deliberately damage any website or undermine the legitimate operation of the Campaign may be a violation of criminal and civil laws. Should such attempt be made, Pictureline, Inc. reserves the right to seek damages to the fullest extent permitted by law.
  10. Limitation of Liability: By entering, You agree to release and hold harmless Pictureline, Inc. and its subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, partners, representatives, agents, successors, assigns, employees, officers, and directors from any liability, illness, injury, death, loss, litigation, claim, or damage that may occur, directly or indirectly, whether caused by negligence or not, from: (i) such entrant’s participation in the Campaign and/or his/her acceptance, possession, use, or misuse of any prize or any portion thereof; (ii) technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to the malfunction of any computer, cable, network, hardware, or software, or other mechanical equipment; (iii) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions, telephone, or Internet service; (iv) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Promotion; (v) electronic or human error in the administration of the Promotion or the processing of entries.
  11. Disputes: THIS Campaign IS GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF the United States of America AND the State of Utah, WITHOUT RESPECT TO CONFLICT OF LAW DOCTRINES. As a condition of participating in this Campaign, participant agrees that any and all disputes that cannot be resolved between the parties, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Campaign, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, exclusively before a court located in the State of Utah having jurisdiction. Further, in any such dispute, under no circumstances shall participant be permitted to obtain awards for, and hereby waives all rights to, punitive, incidental, or consequential damages, including reasonable attorney’s fees, other than participant’s actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. costs associated with entering this Campaign). Participant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.
  12. Winners List: To obtain a copy of the Winner’s name or a copy of these Official Rules, mail your request along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Pictureline, 305 West 700 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84101 USA. Requests must be received no later than 11:59 PM MST on February 22, 2019.
  13. Sponsor: The Sponsor of the Campaign is Pictureline, 305 West 700 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84101 USA
  14. The Campaign hosted by Pictureline, Inc. is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Instagram or Facebook. 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

NightScape Podcast with Royce Bair and host Mike Pach

LISTEN to 37-minute Podcast with The Photo Show host, Mike Pach, and guest, Royce Bair, talk about NightScape photography. (My apologies for the hoarse sound of my voice—a had some laryngitis due to a cold I'm trying to get over!)

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

'Starry Night Quotes' 2019 Wall Calendar

Cover of "2019 Starry Night Quotes" calendar (click to enlarge)

Sample calendar month with spiritual quote (click to enlarge)


1. FREE Download for your hand-held device - You can download a PDF version (6MB) of this calendar to view on your hand-held device.

2. FREE download for printing - You can download a higher quality PDF version (26MB) to your computer and print out the calendar on you own inkjet or laser printer (14 - 8.5" x 11" sheets).

3. Order a Pre-printed calendar from my Etsy website for only $15.99 - This spiral-bound, 26-page wall calendar is printed on beautiful glossy coated card stock. Folded, it is 11" x 8.5". Hanging on your wall it is 11" x 17". Shipping is only within the United States. Delivery is by First Class mail while supplies last.

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Friday, October 26, 2018

NightScaper Conference scheduled for May 1-3, 2019 in Moab, Utah

A Love Letter to the Night Sky from Ron Risman.
Many of these scenes were shot near Moab, Utah.

The first annual NightScaper Conference has been scheduled for May 1-3, 2019 in Moab, Utah - gateway to Arches and Canyonlands.

Network and socialize with
150 NightScape photographers
3 days of seminars
3 nights of shooting
Optional field trips each night
Plus, optional workshops
before and after the conference

More information and online registration at our official

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

NightScaper Conference Schedule

Day and Night activities scheduled each day.

Conference Schedule:

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - check into any Moab hotel, or stay at the Marriott Springhill Suites and Fairfield Inn Suites (right next to each other). These are our conference hotels and they are also closest hotels to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. We've reserved a block of rooms for our conference guests at a special discounted rate. Book your room now, as these rooms will go fast (you have until March 15, 2019 to cancel, should your plans change). The average rate for national brand hotel rooms in Moab is about $249/night. Your special rate for these beautiful Marriott rooms are $199 and $189 per night, respectively (normal rates in May are $293 and $273 per night)!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

  • 8:00 AM - Conference Room Opens - Receive Registration lanyard
  • 8:00 AM - Vendor tables/booths open
  • 9:30 AM - Christine Kenyon ~ Answers to Common Nightscape Questions
  • 10:30 AM - Clarence Spencer ~ Astro-Modified Cameras
  • 11:30 PM - Break for lunch
  • 12:00 PM - Free Luncheon ~ Sponsored by Pictureline
  • 1:30 PM - Conference Room Opens ~ Bring your Lanyard
  • 2:00 PM - Wayne Pinkston ~ Putting the Landscape Back in Landscape Astrophotography
  • 3:00 PM - Wayne Pinkston ~ Putting the Landscape Back in Landscape Astrophotography - Part II
  • 4:00 PM - Mike Shaw ~ Nightscape Composites and Blends – A How-To Guide
  • 5:00 PM - Photog Adventures - Brendon Porter & Aaron King ~ How to plan your next Milky Way adventure with PhotoPills
  • 6:00 PM - Break for dinner
  • 6:30 PM - Vendor Tables/Booths close
  • 7:00 PM - Eric Gail ~ Maximizing Your Return Using GaiaGPS and Global Positioning
  • 8:00 PM - Personal shooting on your own or optional Paid Field Trips

Thursday, May 2, 2019

  • Midnight - Personal shooting on your own or optional Paid Field Trips
  • 5:00 AM - Return to hotel for rest and personal time (breakfast & lunch on your own)*
  • 11:45 AM - Conference Room Opens ~ Bring your Lanyard
  • 12:00 PM - Vendor tables/booths open
  • 12:00 PM - Vince Warner ~ The Right Tripod for NightScape Photography
  • 1:00 PM - Eric Gail ~ Pre scouting any location “Day or Night” using Google Earth
  • 2:00 PM - Royce Bair ~ Six ways to improve the quality of your NightScapes images
  • 3:00 PM - Mike Berenson ~ Stacking, Tracking and Blending, Oh My!
  • 4:00 PM - Ron Risman ~ Tracking the Night Sky with Motion Control Gear for Timelapse
  • 5:00 PM - Photog Adventures - Brendon Porter & Aaron King ~ Five features in PhotoPills you are using wrong
  • 6:00 PM - Break for dinner
  • 6:30 PM - Vendor Tables/Booths close
  • 7:00 PM - Joyce HarmanSaving Dark Skies Locally
  • 8:00 PM - Personal shooting on your own or optional Paid Field Trips

Friday, May 3, 2019

  • Midnight - Personal shooting on your own or optional Paid Field Trips
  • 5:00 AM - Return to hotel for rest and personal time (breakfast & lunch on your own)*
  • 12:30 PM - Vendor tables/booths open
  • 12:30 PM - Conference Room Opens ~ Bring your Lanyard
  • 1:00 PM - Shreenivasan Manievannan ~ Into the Night with GoPro
  • 2:00 PM - Bettymaya Foott ~ Guest speaker from the International Dark-Sky Association
  • 3:00 PM - Eric Benedetti ~ Tracking Mount Based Nightscape Photography
  • 4:00 PM - David Swindler ~ Post-Processing Methods to Achieve the Highest Quality Night Photos
  • 5:00 PM - Ryan Smith ~ A picture is worth a thousand ……$$$ DOLLARS $$$
  • 6:00 PM - Break for dinner
  • 6:30 PM - Vendor Tables/Booths close
  • 8:00 PM - Personal shooting on your own or optional Paid Field Trips

Saturday, May 4, 2019

  • Midnight - Personal shooting on your own or optional Paid Field Trips
  • 5:00 AM - Return to hotel for rest and personal time - Conference ends*
  • 11:00 AM - Hotel checkout time, unless you wish to extend for private workshops

*The Milk Way core first appears each night at about 1:10 AM and remains visible until about 4:35 AM.

Learn more about the speakers and their programs

More information and online registration at our official

Poster design by Phill Monson / Entrada Outdoor Company.

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