Thursday, October 17, 2013

'Other World' - Blue Hour Hoodoo Light Painting

Mushroom-shape hoodoos in Goblin Valley ~ © Royce Bair (click to enlarge)
Canon 5D Mk3 • 24mm lens @ f/4.5 • 8 sec • ISO 400
Goblin Valley can seem like another world, especially at night. Add light painting and the fun really begins. This is truly a playground for night photographers. My friend, Steve Bunderson, and I spent two days and nights here last week, and had a blast!

"Blue Hour" Photography: Photographing during the "blue hour" can save-the-day when the weather produces lousy conditions for photography. We had hoped to photograph the hoodoos with a starry night sky. However, the whole day had been very cloudy and overcast. By waiting until about 20-30 minutes after sunset, the sky turned a dramatic, deep blue, and produced just a hint of shadow detail on the landscape. During this narrow window of time, Steve and I performed our magic. Steve operated both of our cameras and shouted out feedback, while I handled the light painting.

Light Painting Techniques: The large hoodoo in the foreground is about 20 feet high (over three times the height of a man). The hoodoo in the background is about 40 feet high, and the butte behind it is about 100 feet high. All were lighted using two hand-held quartz-halogen spotlights, from a distance of about 150 feet to the right of the cameras. The hoodoo in the foreground was lighted with a spotlight set at one-half power, and the background hoodoo was lighted with a second spotlight set at full power —one light in each hand (it's important to keep your hands moving during the camera exposure). Both lights are the Black & Decker Lithium Ion Halogen Rechargeable Spotlights. The glow on the front hoodoo, coming up underneath the "mushroom" is from a third spotlight, which is lying on the ground, behind the hoodoo.

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  1. Royce, Beautiful job! Nice to know you found alternative places to visit and photograph while the National Parks were shut down. Keep up the great work!

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