With winter approaching, I’ve really been trying to take advantage of the nice clear skies and warm nights while they last. So when a fellow night photographer invited me to go camping near an old Nevada military fort for some night photography, I jumped on it! We were granted access to the monument after dark and both of us got some great shots!
One thing that is different about the exposures below is that I’m now using a different stacking technique. Instead of firing off a sequence of 30 second exposures at a higher ISO (800-1600), I’m using an intervalometer to shoot 5-min exposures at ISO 400. This results in better noise performance and more control over the brightness of the sky. The intervalometer also eliminated an issue that most Nikon D-SLRs have: a limited number of continuous shots in a row. No matter what quality and exposure length, all of the Nikons that I’ve tested (D3, D300, D200, D2x) have a limited maximum frame count when shooting continuous (my D300 is 100 and if memory serves me right, the D3 has a 125 shot limit). Once this limit is reached, the camera stops shooting and the remote must be unlocked, then locked. This makes exposures longer than an hour (at 30 seconds) very difficult. Now can take an unlimited amount of shots for any exposure length and just walk away (see the second shot down for example). I plan on posting directions on how to use both Nikon and Canon intervalometers soon. Until then, enjoy the photos…
Above: A stack of 5 min exposures adding up to just over 1.5 hours. We gelled the inside and outside of the old captain’s quarters with our pointing north to get this photo.
Above: This is where we camped for the night, finally getting to bed around 3:45am after a long night of shooting. For this shot we decided to just let the cameras stack through the night. Exposure time: 2 hours, 15 mins using 5 min exposures. Gelled like the previous shot, this time facing south-east.
Above: Finally, here is a less serious (noisy) shot taken at ISO 3200 for 30 seconds with the D300. This is the iconic Bonsai Rock at Lake Tahoe taken a few weeks ago. Jupiter is setting near the center of the frame.