You must have figured it out by now that we are obsessed with Arches. I mean just think about it. A place so versatile where you cannot waste a single moment in day thinking you might miss any angle of this nature’s masterpiece. And night you do not want to sleep and slip on the limitless photography opportunities that this park provides. Atleast my Mr. Perfectionist did not want to miss any such chance what so ever. So with a broken back, full camera equipment and a Mustang, we decided to spend the entire night chasing milky way and light painting a.k.a Night Photography at Arches National Park .
If you are keen in doing night photography at Arches and new to this area , here are few suggestions – cum – tips.
First and foremost gear list :
1) You will need an advanced camera (i know that is obvious) that allows full manual exposure control of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. We used Canon 6D and 60D. But here are few others that might interest you or I may say our recomendations .
2) If you are already set on camera, to go with it , you will need a good, fast-aperture wide-angle lens. Why? Because a slow lens will reseult in grainy photos. For most part of night photography we used Rokinon 14 mm 2.8 and Canon EF 16-35 mm Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens……but here are few other recommendations :
3) Since you will be shooting long exposure shots , you will definetly need a sturdy tripod. We love the tripod from MeFoto…. This tripod is just so perfect weightwise. It is neither too heavy , so you can take it with you on long hikes and nor is it flimsy that would shake in light wind.
4) There are few more things that you just cannot miss : Wired Intervalometer ( because you do not want to touch your camera), a medium to high speed SD/CF card (usually 30 mbps or higher) , speedlight with color gels and a headlamp.
5) If you specifically intend to capture milky-way , you must have an app to track the rise of galaxy in night time. PhotoPills is a great sky map app available for iphone users. For android you can use Google Sky Map.
Location and Other Considerations :
1) Arches National Park is big, so you definitely need to plan things ahead and scout the locations in advance. I will definitely advice to visit the site in day time once just so that it gets easy for you to navigate at night time.
2) One is alone , two is a company, and in this case a team. If you have a partner, take them along , you will need their help in a lot of things.
3) There are many companies in Arches that do photography tours specially for night photography. If you are serious about it and new to night photography , book a tour with them.
Nerd Herd ( Focus/ISO/Speed) :
1) A full frame sensor gives the best in camera result. Though due to recent advancements crop sensor have become pretty good. If you don’t necessarily have a top notch camera , people have got excellent results from Sky tracker equipment().
2) Focusing is always a issue at night. You will need to turn off the autofocus ( remember camera cannot focus on the dim lights at night ). and turn on the live view and work your way down to required focus from infinity.
3) Never be afraid to push the limits of modern camera. For ISO anywhere from 3200 to 6400 will give a pretty good result. ISO settings will also depends on the photo enlargement prints you may wish. so do keep that in mind too..
4 ) The Shutter Speed is very important aspect of night photography and it depends on the lens and camera choice. Set you intervalometer to desired time from the table below. For a crisp sharp image the shutter speed is determined by the 500 Rule.
For eg: for a 24 mm lens on a full frame sensor : 500/24 = 20 sec approx before the Star trails start appearing in image (Earth is constantly rotating remember 😀 ) 14 mm will give you 500/14 = 35 sec approx of time.
You can use my cheat-sheet if that helps :
|No.||Lens (mm) Length||Full Frame- secs||Crop Sensor (1.5) – secs||Crop Sensor (1.6) -secs|
So I guess that is a wrap 😉 .. I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the tips we shared will come handy to you. If you have any questions email to us or leave us a comment , we will be happy to answer your queries. We will love to hear about your photography experiences at Arches National Park. If you do not want to miss any updates from us… subscribe to our blog :). Thank you for stopping by. Happy Travels!!
PhotoCredits : PhotoStains