ARCHES AT SUNRISE - 18 January 2015
North Window in Red Light - Arches National Park, File #1514817
Link to Full-Sized Image: http://www.tom-hill.biz/Galleries/Scenics/Utah/i-fcWk3MJ/A
(Editor's Update - for some reason the text for this image did not save so it went public without any context for the image. The text has been updated - 19 Jan 15)
I'm here in Arches National Park in Utah. I haven't been here in several years and certainly haven't had this much opportunity for photography like I will on this trip. After much struggling on where to shoot--I'm still figuring that out--I decided on the Window's and Turret Arch as the subjects for my first morning. I've shot these subjects many times in the past. The challenge this time was doing something new and different.
My main goal for new and different was to include stars. I've been using stars as a major element in my photography recently. Usually that involves very early mornings or long nights. On this occasion it meant getting up at four thirty to be in place by five thirty, a full two hours prior to sunrise.
I've found you can get reasonable star images if you're at least an hour separated from either sunrise or sunset. Closer then that, there's too much light and density of the starts diminishes. In this case, I got there in plenty of time for lots of stars but didn't have one very important element, no clouds.
When I got there another photographer was already shooting. I asked, "how's it going." "Excellent until the clouds rolled in." Seems I missed crystal clear black skies by 15 minutes. Instead, I had this high thin clouds that seriously impacts the luminosity of stars. The good thing with these types of clouds is it usually means really awesome cloud color near sunrise. What was I going to do for the next two hours waiting for the sunrise if I couldn't shoot stars? Well, try stuff, that's what there is to do.
I went up to the North Window and considered how it would look with colorful clouds through the opening. Then I thought after I shot a couple of test frames, "how about some light painting." Light painting is a process where you bath your subject with light while the shutter is open. Essentially, you wave your flashlight back and forth like your painting, hence the term "Light painting."
In this case my flash light wasn't set up with a white light. Instead I have this new fangled light that's red filtered. The idea with a red filter is your night vision isn't degraded by red light like a normal white light like can. As you can with digital photography, I simply gave it a shot, which is what you see here.
This whole scene was of one particular time. Unlike other pictures I've posted recent where I collected image data at various times with the approaching sunrise, eventually merging it all together into one image, this photo's image data was collected at one time. I simply illuminated the arch using my flashlight. Just to be clear, I did stitch two files together to make the pano you see. And, I adjusted the final image's tone and contrast like I do for all my images. Otherwise, no other adjustments.
Normally I don't do such manipulation. However, if it works I don't mind. I just like making sure my viewers know when I'm doing such things.
As for my opinion on manipulating digital files, I don't mind at all unless the file is somehow advertised as being unmanipulated. I figure minor tonal edits and such don't need such clarification. That goes with the territory of digital photography. But, adding, subtracting, or creating something that clearly didn't exist real-time, I prefer that stuff to be noted. It's just the way I roll.