Light painting and the stars

While out in the open country of eastern Washington I wanted to capture the night skies with stars and light up the foreground with a bit of light painting.

This was first attempt to paint with light. I put my Nikon D3s into Manual mode. I was using Nikon’s 18-35mm f/3.5-4. Lens and I manually focused the camera and set it to infinity. Camera and lens were on a tripod.

I tried different shutter speeds until I got the stars and sky exposed the way I wanted them. I then pulled out my spot light and tried to shine the light on the sage brush in the foreground. I did this for three to four seconds and found out quickly the light was too powerful. I found a small flashlight in my camera bag and at first thought the beam wouldn’t be strong enough or carry far enough to light things up. I was wrong. I had to attempt many exposures to get the light just right. I found I only needed to shine the flash light out on the sage brush and road for only a second or two and it was enough light to bring out the details.

Dirt road and the stars

ISO 400 18mm f/4.0 30 sec

Stars, clouds and dirt road

ISO 3200 18mm f/4.0 5 sec

Light painting and the stars

ISO 3200 18mm f/4.0 8 sec

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