|"Night-Night" - McWay Fall at Big Sur, CA ~ © Yan Larsen (click to enlarge)|
Nikon D800E • Nikon 14-24mm Len • Sky exposure @ 3:30 AM:
F/2.8, 30", ISO 3200 • Foreground @ 4:30 AM: F/2.8, 180", ISO 200
"I never tire of night photography, especially the Milky Way," says Yan. "Photographing the night sky makes me feel like a wizard. The universe is so huge, beautiful and mysterious. I am amazed by the details that modern camera can do, that I cannot see it with naked eyes. Being alone under the stars, my mind often flows into the spaces."
|Yan's first Milky Way attempt, with|
only a little foreground planning.
Another challenge she often faces is fear. As a female landscape photography lover, she spends a lot of time alone, hiking, admiring, and being mesmerized by the beauty of the landscape. "I try to conquer this fear by taking these words with me into the darkness: 'One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.' "
The trade-off between noise and star movement. To shoot the Milky Way or stars without star trails, shutter speeds should be between 15 seconds and 30 seconds. To obtain these shorter exposures requires higher ISO's (more noise) or a fast lens (f/2.8 or faster), and sometimes both.
|Milky Way over Convict Lake ~ © Yan Larsen (click to enlarge)|
|Sea stack illuminated by a bonfire ~ © Yan Larsen (click to enlarge)|
"I hope this is worth the $200 in parking tickets I paid." ;-)
- "My Nikkor 14-24mm F/2.8 has excellent optical performance, even at f2.8, making it unsurpassed as a lens for low light and night photography."
- Yan has three tripods: the Gitzo GT2541, the Feisol CT3341 and the Benro. "For night photography, a sturdy tripod is a must, and the Gitzo is my choice."
- A remote release is required for long exposure. "I use the Nikon MC30, which is very easy to use. I bought several cheaper remote trigger releases, but my experience with them was awful. This model doesn't have a timer, so I my iPhone."
- Flashlight. "I sometimes want to light paint a dark foreground. Different colored lights can also add some fun effects."
- Photoshop is Yan's post processing tool to reduce the noise created by long exposures and high ISO's.
|Bonsai Rock, Lake Tahoe ~ © Yan Larsen (click to enlarge)|