Light Painting at Old Car City

Night-time at the Auto Graveyard

Last night, members of the Roswell Photographic Society went up to White, Georgia to do a workshop on night-time photography with Roman Kurywczak.  If you have never heard of it before, Old Car City is the worlds largest known classic car junkyard.  It was featured on the CBS Sunday Morning show several years ago and has become a mecca for photographers since then.

We got to practice the techniques that were explained earlier in the day at this very interesting location.  It was still pretty warm out and the bugs were buzzing around but with the help of lots of flashlights and insect repellant, we were able to explore the junkyard in the dark and get some good images.

Old Car City is always an interesting trip and I got some interesting images both before and after sunset.  Will share more in the days to come.

Roswell Photographic Society
3-day Workshop with Roman Kurywczak
Old Car City
3098 Highway 411 Northeast
White, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
10mm at f/4 – 30 sec – ISO 160

Can you see the shooting star?

Perseid meteor shower was at its peak this weekend

OK, so I am going to have to accept that I live in a large suburban city and the sky is never going to be truly dark.  None the less, we went out on Saturday night to try our luck at seeing the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. We got lucky in that, the clouds which were covering the sky earlier cleared but we just couldn’t get everyone in the city to turn their lights off.

There is actually a meteor trail in this shot in the lower section between the trees.  Joyce saw one bright one streak across the sky (of course, I missed it) but that was all the show that we got.  Still, it was a beautiful night and other than a sore neck and a little lost sleep, we enjoyed seeing the stars and wondering at the vastness of the universe.

Nikon D7100
Tamron 10-24 Di II LD SP AF
10mm at f/3.5 – 13 sec – ISO 2000

Milky Way over the Blue Ridge

A little hazy and cloudy but still a good sighting of the Milky Way

Since our mountain trip with the  North Georgia Photography Club was intended as a night-time star shoot, I had to post one Milky Way image.  I almost gave up on our chances here due to all the clouds that came close to covering the sky at sunset.  I decided to make my way back down to the parking area where Joyce had decided to stay with a few others.  We had a good view of the Milky Way from there on our previous visit but I really thought this was when we would be saying good-night and heading out.

The small group that was waiting in the parking area were more positive than I and they convinced me to wait it out for a while.  As it turned out, the sky cleared up mostly but it was still hazy and clouds crossed over the Milky Way at times.  We also got a fair amount of light pollution from Blairsville, Helen, Young Harris and Hiawassee in the surrounding areas. All that said, it was still amazing to see all those stars and we could actually see the Milky Way with the un-aided eye.  Joyce also saw several shooting stars but I always seemed to be looking the wrong way for that.

It was pretty cool when the sun went down which was a great feeling compared to the sweltering weather back in Atlanta.  Have to keep this place on the list for night-shots and find a time of year when the skies are more likely to be crisp and clear.  Really enjoyed the outing and meeting up with my NGPC friends.

Milky Way over Blue Ridge
Brasstown Bald Mountain
Towns and Union Counties, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
10mm at f/4.5 – 30 sec – ISO 1600

#MilkyWay #nightphotography #stars #galaxy #Georgia #BrasstownBald #BlueRidge #Appalachian #mountains #southern #photography #WithMyTamron #Nikon

When Darkness is good for photos

Usually, camera buffs are looking for lots of light but, when photographing stars, dark is better.

Photography by its nature is the capture of light so, you would naturally think that a photographer would hate it when it is dark.  That is true in most cases but, when you’re trying to get a good image of the Milky Way, the darker the better.

The evening we went up to Brasstown Bald, the highest point in the State of Georgia, was a little cloudy.  There was some light coming from the town of Blairsville but for the most part, it was quite dark.  In this image you can see the “light pollution” in yellow tones on the horizon.

In most cases, you can’t see the Milky Way with the naked eye unless it is absolutely dark and clear.  To get photos you need to keep the camera absolutely still and have the shutter open for somewhere around 30 seconds.  If you have a camera that can support a high ISO (1600 or more) and a lens with a fairly large maximum aperture (f/3.5 or better) you can see the magic of modern photography and experience the beauty of our galaxy.

Thanks to David Akoubian and the Tamron Image Masters for teaching me the techniques and to the members of the North Georgia Photo Club for allowing me to join them on this trip.  This was definitely one of those times when Darkness is Good!

Daily Prompt: Darkness

Milky Way from Brasstown Bald Mountain
Towns and Union Counties, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
10mm – 30 seconds at f/3.5 – ISO 3200

#Georgia #BrasstownBald #BlueRidge #Appalachian #mountains #MilkyWay #southern #photography #WithMyTamron #Nikon

As high as it gets

Brasstown Bald mountain is the highest natural point (4,784 feet) in the State of Georgia.

Yesterday, Joyce and I made a 2-hour ride north of Roswell to join up with the North Georgia Photo Club on a Milky Way photo shoot to Brasstown Bald.  To tell the truth, we weren’t actually convinced that you could drive 2 hours to the north and still be in Georgia but, it is true.  Brasstown Bald is the highest point in Georgia and is located just south of the North Carolina state line.  It is located north of Helen, Cleveland and Dahlonega, places I have visited often. The nearest towns are Blairsville, Hiawassee, and Young Harris where many Atlanta-area residents go for summer camping or mountain cabins.

We met up with the club members at the Visitor’s Center and got in some sunset shots before heading up the relatively short (0.6 mile) but very steep trail to the observation tower at the mountain’s peak.  There were some clouds blowing around on the horizon which just wouldn’t go away but the Milky Way was still displaying pretty well.  A fair amount of light pollution was produced by the towns of Hiawassee and Blairsville but that actually added some interest to the shots.

I think everyone played with some light painting on this trip also.  In my image above, the observation tower has been lit by flashlights and you can see some of the other club members standing at the base of the tower.  Looks kind of like a communications center trying to make contact with other people out there in space.

We had a great time except for the trip home.  I guess trying out new directions in the middle of the night (we left about 12:15) in the mountains, where you don’t get very good cell reception, is not the best idea.  Took us over 3 hours for a trip that should have been 1.5 – 2 hours.  I had to go to church to cantor 7:30 mass this morning!  Short on sleep but happy with pictures.

Milky Way over Observation Tower
Brasstown Bald Mountain
Towns and Union Counties, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
10mm – 25 seconds at f/3.5 – ISO 3200

#Georgia #BrasstownBald #BlueRidge #Appalachian #mountains #MilkyWay #southern #photography #WithMyTamron #Nikon


Rocky Mountain Night Skies Workshop

I’m not sure why I didn’t do this post as the first images from my National Parks trip.  The main thing that got my wife and I to schedule this trip was to attend the Night Skies Photography Workshop in Rocky Mountain National Park.

RMNP_May 10 2016_0471
Moon rising at Moraine Park

The group went out to RMNP at sunset and watched as the evening sky slowly got darker and the stars began to pop out in the night sky.

Clouds floated about on the horizon which made for some interesting patterns even if we would have wished for a completely clear view.  The moon was visible early on which again, is not ideal for the Milky Way sightings we all wanted but, you have to take what nature gives you and the moon is a beautiful sight itself.

We hit a couple of sites for sunset and dusk shots before moving to West Horseshoe Park for our star-gazing.

One thing to know: if you go to the Rocky Mountains in May you need to be prepared for COLD weather.  Daytime temps were comfortable but being out overnight from 7PM to 1AM with wind and snow blowing at you is bone-chilling!!

RMNP_May 10 2016_0470
Workshop attendees adjusting settings

RMNP_May 11 2016_0200-2

Milky Way over the Rockies

I still can’t believe how absolutely packed the sky was with their lights.  It is absolutely amazing to see the night sky in the mountains in an area that is far from the city lights.

RMNP_May 11 2016_0147
I can’t imagine how anyone could possibly get better instruction for such a reasonable price.

Dave Krause and Rob Wood of National Park Trips Media took great care of us and Tamron’s Image Masters: David Akoubian, Ken Hubbard and Andre Costantini gave us classroom instruction and a whole night of in-the-field tips, guidance and insights.

For those who can’t wait to try your had at this kind of photography.  The biggest thing to remember is, you need a place that is REALLY dark and a good tripod!  An out-of-the-way corner in your backyard won’t do.  You need to be somewhere seriously remote from city lights.


Now here’s the secret formula that works well for camera settings:

  • A good wide-angle lens
  • ISO: 1600 – 3200
  • Aperture: Wide open  f3.5 – f1.2 if you can get there.
  • Shutter speed: 15-30 seconds (If you go longer, you may start getting star trails.)

All images in this post were taken with:

Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 15-30MM F/2.8 Di VC USD
Processed with Adobe Lightroom