Light up the night

#TravelTuesday today is a throwback to some travel and a look at adding some zing to our travel photography with light. I’m Dave Williams, and I’m taking you today from my flat on the outskirts of west London, UK to Route 66 near Seligman, AZ. Let’s go.

Last summer after Photoshop World West in Las Vegas had drawn to a close, Mark Heaps and I found ourselves in a Triumph dealership picking up a pair of Triumph Tigers to go on an adventure we’d spent months planning and years yearning for. We were taking our two-wheeled machines from Nevada into Arizona to explore a stretch of Route 66.

Capturing the adventure would be a challenge because we were both riding so the shots we got needed to be remotely activated or cleverly executed, but there was one particular thing we wanted to capture that removed us from the scene altogether – the brilliant light of the Milky Way.

As we rode back to our top-quality motel one evening and the darkness drew in we noticed the Milky Way piercing through the deep blue of the twilight sky and despite being separated from each other and our heads encased in protection we seemed to both just know what we needed to do and stopped at the pullout in sync.

The moon was absent and aside from the nearby freeway there was no artificial light for miles, nor any cloud or haze to catch it if there even was any. The objective was clear – shoot the bikes under the Milky Way. The problem was the lack of light. To make this photo special would require us producing our own light and applying it in such a way that the bikes didn’t distract from the stars, or vice-versa.

I pulled out my Litra Pro and we both got our tripods and cameras ready, constantly scanning for tiny, stingy critters like scorpions and spiders as we stepped through the grit, and we were ready.

With the light set perfectly, here’s what we got: –

In travel and landscape photography we tend to rely entirely on natural light, but using our own light can add to a photo and make it really creative as well as technical.

Flash and lighting is not just for portraits, it can be applied in so many ways to add to our images. It just happens that right now KelbyOne is running a conference to teach all about flash, which you can jump into right here.

Thanks for dropping by, and I hope that little glimpse has inspired you to think about artificial light and different ways to apply it. As with everything it’s important to learn the fundamentals and step it up from there.

Much love

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