Friday, September 12, 2014

Gateway to Wall Street by Wayne Pinkston

"Gateway" to Wall Street, on the Navajo Loop Trail, in Bryce Canyon N.P. ~ © John Wayne Pinkston
Canon 6D, 15mm Sigma fisheye f/2.8, 30 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO 6400 — with light painting
"Seeking the Light", descending into Wall Street, Navajo Loop Trail, in Bryce Canyon N.P. ~ © John Wayne Pinkston
Canon 6D, 15mm Sigma fisheye f/2.8, 30 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO 6400 — with light painting (click to enlarge)
John Wayne Pinkston, or "Wayne", as he is known by his friends, recently made these photos in the early morning hours (about 2:00 AM) on August 30th, during a solo hike down Bryce Canyon's narrow "Wall Street", on the Navajo Loop Trail. Wayne had just finished one of my NightScape workshops in Bryce, and was anxious to put some of his knowledge to work.

Tools and Equipment: Wayne had already come prepared with several of the lights I recommend, along with some of his own improvisations. The "Gateway" arch was lighted from behind with an F&V Z96 LED Panel Light (with warming filter), and the canyon walls were lit with reflected light from a hand held Harbor Freight, Luminar Work, quartz halogen spotlight. To control stray light from his spotlight, Wayne used a rolled up plastic dinner placemat as a snoot! Even with the dimmer control at the Z96's lowest setting, the LED light was too bright coming through the arched tunnel, and Wayne again had to improvise.

"Subway napkins work really well. I had a pocket full of them. I wrapped two or three napkins around the light because it was too bright, and that worked well," quipped Wayne.

For "Seeking the Light", Wayne used two F&V Z96 LED's and a Chromo Inc. LED CI-160 (another dimmable panel light) spaced along the trail. All had their warming filters and diffusion attached, but he had to use an additional theatrical gel sheet on the CI-160 to make it match the two Z96's. (Editor's Note: a larger version of the CI-160, with 216 LED lights is also available: Chromo Inc. LED CI-216.)

The Process: In both photos, Wayne used camera White Balance settings of 3500º - 3600º K, respectively. This allowed him to more closely match his light painted earthly subjects, and give him a cooler night sky. He also used the WB Shift function in the Menu settings —selecting Blue +2 and Magenta +2, in an attempt to get the sky bluer rather than cyan.

The images were processed in Adobe Photoshop CS6. The adjustments were limited. In Adobe Camera RAW, Wayne increased contrast and performed noise reduction.  In Photoshop,
he selected the sky and canyon walls separately in the Adjustment Layers, and adjusted the contrast for each. He also slightly decreased the saturation of the walls, and slightly increased the saturation of the sky.

Challenges: In "Seeking the Light", Wayne's main challenge was getting uniform lighting on the walls. "I placed the three lights on the ground pointing straight upwards at approximately 20 yard intervals. I found that I had to do a lot of experimenting and adjusting to get them just right. Some lights had to be angled due to outcroppings of rocks. After about a half hour of playing with the lights, I felt they were adequate, and took a number of photos at different angles."

Satisfaction: "My motivation and inspiration for this type of photo came from viewing other photos online, [i.e. Cyclop Arch].  I was attracted to the perspective of looking straight up and viewing the Milky Way, because these give me the most sense of space and depth as well as your relationship to the towering walls. The viewpoint makes me feel small, and somehow makes the stars feel closer. It was my feeling that the fisheye lens was essential for the perspective."

"I was excited when I got under the camera (the screen was pointed down), and saw the images, realizing the set-up would succeed to some degree. Since I had not tried this before at night, I felt like a kid in elementary school that just got promoted!"

By profession, Wayne Pinkston is a Radiologist. Photography and radiology share many of the same principles as far as image capture, processing, and display.

"I look at images all day at work and then go on vacation and take more images. I became interested in photography in college, and that likely influenced me becoming interested in radiolgy. I had a long break from photography while my kids were growing up and rekindled the interest in the 1990's when we were able to travel to national parks as a family."

More of Wayne's photography can be seen at his website, Lightcrafter.

1 comment:

  1. Wayne, In June 2015 I shot my very first image of the night sky and the Milky Way at the annual Astronomy Festival in Bryce Canyon. Since that time, I have viewed hundreds of MW images. I just went through your Portfolio, and want you to know I have never seen such a fabulous collection of night images as you have taken. All I can say is WOW!! I am so fascinated with the night sky even as I just celebrated my 70th Birthday. You are an inspiration to me and many others. Congratulations on your vision and your truly beautiful Artwork.

    Tom Reynolds
    Clinton, Utah