Photostory: Milky Way Dreams

Can you see the Milky Way from where you live?

I can’t; there’s too much light pollution from the city in which I reside.  Therefore, when I go camping, I make a point to look skyward.

I have always marveled at the beauty of the night sky.  There are so many more stars than I ever expect.  But even more impressive is how the darkness comes alive through my camera with a long exposure.  Our eyes are pretty powerful, but leaving a shutter open to soak in the faintest light proves how wondrous the universe is.

The Big Dipper framed between two trees | LotsaSmiles Photography

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Weekly Wow: Cityscape

Last week saw a spectacular celestial event: a trifecta of super moon (the moon was physically close to the earth), blue moon (second full moon within a single month), and a lunar eclipse (self-explanatory).  We woke well before the dawn to get ourselves into position and prepared to shoot this rare conjunction.

However, in true Portland fashion, the weather wouldn’t quite behave.  Continue reading

The Magic of Moonscapes

Photographers are a special kind of crazy.  We willingly look ridiculous to get the right angles for a shot, we spend impossible hours deleting stray hairs from an image, and we completely disregard our own safety for the sake of an epic image.

We can also keep the strangest hours.

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Columbine Lake

I’m really excited to be starting in on this series.  My parents are moving away from their decades-long home in Colorado to spend their retirement in the Northwest, so we wanted one last chance to knock a few of our Rocky Mountain-ish bucket list items off our list.  My parents wanted in on the fun, so we planned a one-way road trip that would take us through Colorado, down to Mesa Verde, then up through Moab, and back to Oregon where they could scout out some neighborhoods.

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Vancouver at Night

This is my last post on my Vancouver series, and I’m excited to share with you other adventures (we’ve been so busy!).

Vancouver is a very beautiful city, and my camera seemed to leap into my hands of its own accord in an effort to capture it.  I loved the cool mornings, I loved the sunny afternoons, and I loved the stunning evening clouds.  All too frequently, we vacation too hard to have much energy come nightfall, but we managed one evening with a vantage of the sparkly skyline. Continue reading

A Taste of Japan: Nighttime Shrines

I only have a few more of these highlights before I get into the real meat of our trip.  This week has understandably been busy catching up from our vacation and preparing for another over Thanksgiving.  I know you’re anxious for the full daily accounts, but I’m afraid I’ll have to tease you for just a short while longer…

When you visit Japan, unless you try explicitly not to, you’re bound to wind up at a few shrines.  Fortunately, that’s ok, as every one is unique in their own way.  If you really want to mix it up, try visiting them after dark.  Check to make sure they’re accessible after hours, but if they are, this can provide a great opportunity to beat a lot of the crowds at some of the more popular destinations. Continue reading

Photo of the Week: Supermoon Eclipse

I’ve noticed my posts tend to run a bit longer than I want or anticipate.  So, in an effort to mix it up and put more focus on the photography, I’m going to try adding something new: photo of the week!  This will highlight a picture I particularly like that week.  It most likely will have been taken in the past week, but I can’t always promise that.  In this case, it was 🙂

The world looked to the skies Sunday night for this spectacular celestial event, and I knew I wouldn’t miss it!  While it probably would have been better at some obscure campground with limited light pollution, I did the best I could with a Sunday evening.  I’m also learning that if I want to do more of this type of photography, it’s time for me to upgrade my telephoto.  Priorities!

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© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

New to Star Trails: Lessons Learned

In my last post, I talked about my introduction into astrophotography.  During the same trip, I attempted star trails – those beautiful concentric circles/arcs you see when turning your camera skyward and sucking up all possible light for minutes or even hours.

I’ve always been curious about star trails.  The fact is: given the chance, your camera can see more than human eyes.  This is why photos of the night sky look so surreal.  There’s no way that many stars are visible from our tiny little planet. Continue reading