Some nights are better than others and some nights are pure magic. Central Oregon’s Badlands Wilderness just east of Bend is a very special place to visit during full moon. It is a favorite with local Bendites and visitors alike. As a photographer, I am drawn to desert places and I love the solitude of wild places in Oregon and all over the world. Since I have the great fortune to life southeast of Bend on a large piece of High Desert land in its natural state, I don’t have to drive to the Badlands for good photos. I can just step out of my house and start taking pictures. In fact, some of my published photography was taken right in front of my house.
Recently I was teaching a private client how to shoot night sky images out in the Badlands near my home. It was clear desert night and we used a old juniper tree as our subject. While the camera was exposing, I painted the tree with the light of my head lamp. My Kelvin settings in the camera were at 3200 K so the overall color of the image would be blue. The image was pretty enough but I wanted more. After my client happily went his way with his new knowledge, I kept thinking a nice moon would enhance the image. I knew this time of year all you would see is a tiny sliver in the early evening before it would disappear behind the Cascade range well before night sky photography really makes sense.
The next day I was ready to capture the moon sliver with my 500mm lens. I shot it with the HDR setting in my camera recording three different image exposures at one time and combining them in the camera’s software. The result was a photo of the moon sliver with the additional beauty of the actual moon, who does not get the sun’s light from above.
Now all I had to do was combine the moon image with my landscape image in Photoshop in layers. I further enhanced the image with the detail extractor software of my Nik Filter system.
Part of the fun of digital photography is the fact that now you can really use your imagination and be as creative as you like. Free from the limitations of the wet darkroom, I’ve never had more fun working as photographer in Oregon than now.
Editor’s note: “Capturing Oregon” brings you the stories of Oregon photographers as they traverse the state to capture its beauty. To see more of Christian’s photography, visit www.ccophoto.com.