Today on The Slanted Lens, we are up at Mono Lake in northern California to teach you about shooting time-lapse photography at night. I want to get a great shot of the Milky Way as it moves across the night sky behind the tufas, which are the towers of calcium build up present all over the Mono Lake area.
First off, we need to know where the Milky Way is going to be in the sky and when it will rise above the horizon. I found a great article on Star Circle Academy to help get me started; read the article here: http://starcircleacademy.com/2012/06/milkyway/.
It is important to scout your location ahead of time. You cannot show up half an hour before it is going to start, throw down the camera and expect to get a good shot. Get out there early and check out the location. Here are a couple things to bring along to make this experience a little easier:
- A backpack – We had to walk quite a long way to get to the area where we wanted to shoot and a backpack makes it a lot easier to haul everything you need.
- Chair or foam pad – The time-lapse is going to take a while and you need something to sit or rest on.
- Headlamps and extra batteries – Even if you don’t arrive in the dark, you will probably be packing up in the dark.
- Dim flashlight – A small light like the kind found on keychains will give you enough light to move around while the time lapse going, but won’t be so much that it will affect your subject, in this case, the tufas.
It was a great time to be out in that location, sitting under the stars with my sweetheart. I love photography and video – where else can you get these kinds of experiences? Get out there and see what you can do.
Thanks for watching! Keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’.
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The Final Image
The Lighting Breakdown
Jay P Recommends for this Shoot