night photography

Supermoon, Airplane and Calgary Tower in one


Calgary, Alberta, Canada I really wanted a photo of the supermoon against something that was iconically Calgary. At the same time I didn't want to photoshop the moon to make it look bigger. In order to show a large moon I had to use a telephoto lens and be somewhat far from the tower itself. This meant mapping the path of the moon ahead of time and knowing where I had to stand to get the Calgary tower visible. After a few calculations I knew that I had to be at the Jubilee auditorium, a place I've always gone to and had a fantastic time watching Alberta Ballet or other fantastic shows.

One other problem with shooting such a bright object is that the camera can't capture the comparatively dim lights of the towers and the bright moon at the same time. This required that I take two photos at different exposure levels and mash them together to get the combined details of the moon's beautiful craters and the city's vibrant textures. I had the lucky bonus of an airplane flying in front of the moon while I took the shot, creating a cool streak across the sky.

I have to stress that the the size or shape of the moon has not been manipulated, the only "photoshopping" in this photo is the combining of the two exposures, the large size of the moon is magnified just as much as the tower is by using my 400mm lens on a canon 7D.

Exposure 1 for the city: 4s f/8.0 ISO200 400mm (Brighter) Exposure 2 for the moon 1s f/8.0 ISO100 400mm (Darker)

Get festive outdoor photos with light painting!


Wheeler Hut, B.C. CanadaMake sure you look at all three photos in this post to see the before/after

It was a cool festive evening at wheeler hut as the moon rose in the foggy night sky. A long day of backcountry skiing was well rewarded with hot chocolate, and a delicious meal. Even though we were “in the sticks” I couldn’t help but cook a hearty meal with turkey stuffing, asparagus and boursin stuffed chicken breast, can you tell I love food? A game of jenga on the dinner table brings bouts of laughter as we tell stories by the cozy wooden fireplace.

Photographic Details: I found the angle and composition I was looking for to show the front of this beautiful hut with the moon shining behind it but the hut itself was dark in the photograph. I had to add some light if I wanted the logs and the white fluffy trees to be visible. I knew I would be getting shots like this so I planned ahead to bring my massive maglite, it’s my favourite light painting tools as I can focus the beam of light and it’s bright enough to be very useful photographically.

Before Photo:

You can see the first photo is atmospheric but I had a vision for more detail in this photo.

So I set my camera on a timer on a tripod stuck in the snow and frantically ran to the right of the camera with my maglite (not easy in deep snow). Once I heard the click of my shutter set at 15 seconds I shined the light on every part of the photo that I wanted illuminated. I made sure to light up the part of the tree by the moon to help draw the eye toward the sky, I wiggled my flashlight all over the skiis, snow and front of the cabin. After 15 seconds my camera finished it’s exposure and the light that I shone in that timespan was “painted” onto the surface of everything it touched.

After Photo:

You can see the result is dramatically different and the image has a much brighter feel. Be sure to try standing in different places and avoid light painting from behind the camera, a light source too close to the camera may look too much like an in camera flash which doesn’t produce flattering results. light painting is a great way of illuminating subjects at night, the beauty of it is that you don’t have to be exact, and it’s easy enough to have a flashlight handy in your kit!

Lighting Diagram:

15s f/2.8 ISO800 50mm



Skier by night

Outside Wheeler HutFrom the holiday collection at

It was an epic day of backcountry skiing in the mountains of BC. The higher we climbed the bigger our ski down would be. This is where we made the mistake of not keeping together and not fully monitoring the energy of everyone in the group. We ended up taking much longer than we expected to get down. You have to think of the whole group as one person, and if anyone is tired you must only go at the pace and distance comfortable for them. This is where being prepared is handy, we had head lamps with us in case we ended up skiing in the night, and that’s just what happened. Lo and behold it was cool to see the skiiers with the lamps on their heads at night and I got someone to pose.

Photographic details: The light was quite dim, so I needed to let in as much light as possible. Shot hand held with a slow shutter speed of 1/30th of a second and f2.8 and a whopping iso of 12800. My camera was now sensitive enough to gather enough light from the lamps and and the last minute of blue hour. Drastic noise reduction was used in Lightroom to compensate for the distortion of using such a high iso but it comes out quite nice!

1/30s f/2.8 ISO12800 35mm Every photo in my smugmug is now 50% off until Dec 25th with the code: WELOVEWINTER

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