Photographing Hawksbill Crag aka Whitaker Point

Photographing Hawksbill Crag aka Whitaker Point

          Over the last weekend I spent a little time in Boxley Valley, near Ponca, Arkansas. One of the most photographed rocks in Arkansas, Hawksbill Crag (otherwise known as Whitaker Point), is a landmark of the Buffalo River and a favorite hike among many. Our goal was to get some Milky Way shots of the famous Hawksbill Crag. The window for getting the shot was very slim, between our schedules, the moon movement of the moon we only had a few days. The weather forecast was initially favorable, clear skies and cooler. As we arrived to the trail to the crag, the clouds started moving in. The clouds hung around for the vast majority of the night, they cleared for about an hour around 4 am, and then came back for sunrise. With heavy overcast for sunrise, we packed up and headed out while it was still cool. Maybe next time. Spending a few days in Boxley Valley area is always awesome, even if the planned shots don’t pan out.          ...
Red Bank Access at night

Red Bank Access at night

Last summer we were out exploring the area, and stumbled across the ruins of an old house near Red Bank Access in Gamelia, Arkansas. I have been planning on going back to it to shoot the Milky Way rising behind it. Since there is almost no light there (and to the south of this location there is very little light pollution) this should be an absolutely stunning location for shooting the Milky Way. The old building and lake in the foreground will provide a nice anchor for the image and will add considerable interest to the milky way shot – at least that is what I hope. A friend approached me, and wanted get a few people together to go shoot, I suggested that we go to Red Bank. We had a favorable forecast, it was partly cloudy during the day, but the forecast was for clearing skies by 10 pm. We planned to shoot at 3 am, when the brightest part of the milky way would be at it highest point in the sky. During the day of, the forecast changed a little, calling for the clear skies to become partly cloudy at 3 am; so we moved up our shoot by an hour. As the night went it, it stayed pretty cloudy, and right around 1 am it cleared up. I arrived to the location right at 1 am. It looked awesome, I could see the Milky Way, and so I knew that it would photograph well. It had been almost a year since being at this location, and there was a TON of deadfall along the...
Making star trails at night.

Making star trails at night.

    Making star trail images is always fun. They are time consuming and complicated to make but it is also difficult to find an interesting composition. For it to work, you really need to find a subject that is interesting just by itself, and gives the image a strong anchor. It helps if the main subject includes leading lines that direct the viewer. When I new that I was going to be going to Reelfoot Lake, I used google maps and was looking for noteworthy features that I could use in some landscape images. I noticed that there were several long piers that lead into the water from shore, and I noticed that there was one that was basically facing north. Once we got to Reelfoot, we scouted the locations and decided that one pier in particular would work for what I was looking for. The weather conditions were horrible for us that evening, there was a very strong and very cold wind blowing from the north across the lake. I framed up the shot to include the North Star and the pier. Then set the timelapse at 30 seconds at f4, iso5000. Then I set it up to shoot with a one second pause between each exposure for 30 minutes. It was cold enough, that while the timelapse was running we waited in the car. If it was not so miserable out, I probably would have shot several different shoots, or even tried to make some exposures that showed the Milky Way or more prominent constellations, but I was tired. I had been up driving and shooting...
Milky Way over the White River, Mountain Home Arkansas

Milky Way over the White River, Mountain Home Arkansas

My parents visited over the last weekend, and they stayed at a trout resort just outside of town. The resort they stayed at was located right on the river. The front porch has a river view with the boat dock just a few steps away. They had a fire pit and we came over to sit in front of the fire on their last night here. The night was clear and cold, and we had an awesome view of the southern sky, so naturally I took a few shots of the night sky. I saw several shooting stars, the Milky Way was easily visible in the southern sky last night. I used a Canon 6d + Rokinon 14/2.8 for this shot. I had the camera mounted on a very stable tripod. It was, of course, very dark when I shot this image, so when i set it up the first thing I did was take a few images to get the framing that i wanted. It is hard to tell what you are looking at when you can’t see a single thing through the viewfinder, it took me 2-3 images to get the framing that I wanted. For the framing shots I was using the highest iso my camera has (to get the shortest possible shutterspeed) because I did not want to wait 45 seconds between each shot while i was just framing the shot. After getting the framing right, I changed the iso to a much more manageable setting. In this case I was shooting at 8000 iso on a 6d, which provided a reasonable exposure time and...
Music at the County Fair

Music at the County Fair

Well, the County Fair is in town again. It is hard to believe that it has been a year since it was here last. This year a friend told me about a band that was playing at the main stage, and I tagged along and listened to them play. I, of course, brought my camera and snapped a few shots as they played, they were pretty good. Much better than what i was expecting for a rock band in a town of 12,000 people 🙂 They call themselves 9N. Check them out on FB at : https://www.facebook.com/pages/9N-Band/125415524211724   After listening to 9N play, Catie, Andrea and I walked the midway and played a few games. Last year Catie won a goldfish, this year…. it was a hermit crab. sigh. more animals to take care of. I swear, before we are done, we will own a farm.    ...