As summer starts to come to a close, the days of hiking and camping get colder and less likely due to weather. I am hoping to get back out a few more times before things turn too chilly, especially to capture the fall foliage in all it’s grandeur. This past weekend though, a group of us went out to Jones Pass in the mountains here with the idea of getting some sunset, moonrise, and star trail shots.
The thing with sunsets and star trails is that they need conflicting environments to really work. Sunsets work best with clouds to catch the colors of the sky as the sun drops behind the horizon. Star trails, on the other hand, need clear skies to really work…otherwise you get these streaky clouds that can often just become a globulus mess.
So, when we went out to Jones Pass, I wasn’t sure which to wish for. The group had about ten people and ironically, split about 50-50 between guys and gals. The gals ended up staying at a lower elevation for some fields, fences, and the like for sunset, while the guys went further up. Where we ended up the sunset was pretty cool, and after some decent shooting, headed back down to meet with the ladies for some
beer beverages, cheese, crackers, chips and salsa while waiting for the moon to rise.
Of course, the moon rising meant star trails were unlikely as well, so when we had clouds for both sunset and moonrise, it turned out to be a good thing all around. While some left early due to the cloud cover, a few of us remained to see how things shook down, and it was good that we did. The heavy clouds broke into small patches that the moon would peak through. With the pine trees in the foreground, it made for some pretty interesting compositions. These are tricky to expose correctly, so you really do need to just get out and experiment, as I found success (and failure) with a number of different settings.
Here’s a few of my keepers from the excursion:
The educational takeaway from this post was a good one too: when a shoot takes you down an unexpected turn, the best thing isn’t necessarily to walk away and shoot another day, it could be to change your game plan. Star trails clearly were not gonna happen, but that didn’t mean there weren’t opportunities for photos…we just changed our goal, and it worked!
Like the shots? Share your thoughts? Got your own plans for the end of summer heading into autumn? Feel free to share plans and ideas there as well. In the meantime, keep on shooting and we’ll see you back here next time! Have a great week!