Mono Lake, Sierra Nevada, California, October 12th, 2015

Behind the scenes of this photo

Taken at Mono Lake, Sierra Nevada, California, October 12th, 2015

Mono Lake is one of my absolute favorite places for stargazing and astrophotography.

For starters, there’s very little light pollution in the area and on a moonless night the skies are extraordinarily dark. Second, Mono Lake sits at 7,000 feet, high in the arid semi-desert, which means elevated atmospheric clarity. And third, there are all these wonderful tufa formations stretching up toward the sky. With the brilliance of the stars and the vertical reach of the tufa it often seems like the Earth and the sky are within touching distance.

About this photo specifically, this is a composition I had scouted in October a few years ago but hadn’t had the opportunity to shoot since then. But my recent move to Mammoth gave me all the proximity to Mono Lake I could ask for and when the forecast showed a clear night sky a few weeks back I took the chance to make this image. The orange glow on the horizon is from some haze in the air catching the very very faint light of deep twilight, and the green in the sky is an atmospheric phenomenon called airglow.

View more Sierra Nevada photos

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
2 replies
  1. Peter
    Peter says:

    I really love this shot, Josh. I’ve loved astronomy since I was young, and seeing it captured like this is just delightful.

    Two questions: How long an exposure do you use for stars when you don’t want streaks of light? Secondly, what produced the faint colour in the rocks in this shot? Did you do anything to make them more visible, since I’m guessing they were very dark at the time.

    Reply
    • Josh Cripps
      Josh Cripps says:

      Thanks, Peter! To answer your questions….

      1) The exposure length depends on your focal length (and to some extent the resolution of your camera). There’s something called the rule of 500 which is a helpful guide. Divide 500 by your focal length and that gives you the max exposure time to not see streaks. For example, if you are shooting with a 20mm lens, then you should aim for 25 seconds or less. A 50mm lens means you need 10 sec or less. Whereas a 14mm lens gives you a max of about 35 seconds. Of course, this is just a guide and you still might see streaks at these lengths depending on your composition (because stars near the equator have faster rotational motion), or if you zoom all the way to 100% on your image.

      2) Great question. This image is actually a composite of two photos taken about 1.5 hours apart. I set up the composition around dusk and took one exposure to get good detail in the tufa. Then I left the camera in that exact spot and waited for the Milky Way to align itself between the towers, at which point I took a second photo. Then I combined the two in post.

      Cheers,

      Josh

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Email me when someone replies to my comment.

On Key

Related Posts

Course Login | Results Disclaimer | Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy
© Copyright - Joshua Cripps Photography
  • Order a Print of [the_title]

    Ordering prints is easy. Simply select a print type, then choose the size and your preferred payment method. Hit ORDER and your order is sent to me directly. I will invoice you for the order total and then get to work creating your print!

    ~Josh


    josh2-web2

    100% Satisfaction Guarantee

    I want buying art online to be a zero hassle, zero uncertainty experience, so I offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all my prints. I personally inspect and sign every single print before it ships and I guarantee it will look amazing when you receive it. Nevertheless, if you don’t love your print, I will refund your payment completely and cover the cost of return shipping.

    FREE Shipping on Every Order

    I provide free domestic shipping to all orders placed within the continental United States. Depending on the size of the print ordered this often goes for Hawaii and Alaska as well. International orders will be charged shipping at the lowest possible rate. Any shipping charges will be shown on the order invoice for your approval.

    Monitor Color vs Print Color
    Unless you own a color-calibrated monitor, chances are your print will look slightly different than the photo you see on your screen. Be assured that I make every effort to have each print look as beautiful as possible. If you need to match a print’s colors exactly, please contact me to arrange a test proof.

    Payment and Security

    For your convenience I offer three choices for payment:

    • Credit Card
    • PayPal

    Positive SSL-Secured WebsiteYou will be invoiced after your order is received. All credit card and PayPal transactions are done via secure payment gateways to protect your personal information. And this site is secured with SSL encryption so that even your mailing address and email are transmitted securely.

  • License Request for [the_title]

    Simply fill out the form below and I will get back to you as soon as possible with a quote.

    ~Josh

    josh2-web2

    Your Name

    Your Email

    Please describe your use in as much detail as possible, including:
    - Usage (Advertising, Web, Magazine, Editorial, Print, Display, Retail, etc.)
    - Placement (Magazine Cover, Website Banner, Back of Packaging, etc.)
    - Size (Full coverage, 1/4 page, 15"x15", etc.)
    - Quantity (Magazine Circulation, Ad Distribution Numbers, Print Quantities, etc.)
    - Duration (1-time, 3-month run, 1-year ad, etc.)
    - Countries of Distribution
    - Exclusive License (Yes / No)

  • Order a Print

    Ordering prints is easy. Simply select a print type, then choose the size and your preferred payment method. Hit ORDER and your order is sent to me directly. I will invoice you for the order total and then get to work creating your print!

    ~Josh


    josh2-web2

    100% Satisfaction Guarantee

    I want buying art online to be a zero hassle, zero uncertainty experience, so I offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all my prints. I personally inspect and sign every single print before it ships and I guarantee it will look amazing when you receive it. Nevertheless, if you don’t love your print, I will refund your payment completely and cover the cost of return shipping.

    FREE Shipping on Every Order

    I provide free domestic shipping to all orders placed within the continental United States. Depending on the size of the print ordered this often goes for Hawaii and Alaska as well. International orders will be charged shipping at the lowest possible rate. Any shipping charges will be shown on the order invoice for your approval.

    Monitor Color vs Print Color
    Unless you own a color-calibrated monitor, chances are your print will look slightly different than the photo you see on your screen. Be assured that I make every effort to have each print look as beautiful as possible. If you need to match a print’s colors exactly, please contact me to arrange a test proof.

    Payment and Security

    For your convenience I offer two choices for payment:

    • Credit Card
    • PayPal

    You will be invoiced after your order is received. All credit card and PayPal transactions are done via secure payment gateways to protect your personal information. And this site is secured with SSL encryption so that even your mailing address and email are transmitted securely.