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“I get my best ideas in a thunderstorm.  I have the power and majesty of nature on my side.”  Ralph Steadman

The Island of Kauai was enveloped by a huge storm front with rain and thunderstorms.  Interestingly enough, the storms skirted around the eastern side of the Island and left the North Shore virtually untouched.  However, we could see the storm off in the distance as it ventured it’s way east over the ocean.  Headed for the mainland I guess!  The lightening lit up the sky like it was daylight – even from our vantage point.  We quickly gathered our tripod, camera and Neutral Density filters to try and get some lightning bolts.  It took quite a few attempts and long exposures but we were finally successful.  

Another shot I wanted to try was using the pop-flash technique.  Glen held an off camera flash unit, as did I.  I set the self timer, and during a long exposure (almost 7 seconds) each one of us popped the flash at a different time.  When I was editing the photos I realized I only had one good lightening shot, and it wasn’t in any of the pop-flash shots.  So – Photoshop here I come!  I combined two of the best photographs, created a layer mask and masked in the lightening bolt.  

Love the magic of Photoshop!

326-365

326-365

“The night before I left Las Vegas I walked out in the desert to look at the moon.  There was a jeweled city on the horizon, spires rising in the night, but the jewels were diadems of electric and the spires were the neon of signs ten stories high.”  ~Norman Mailer

We drove back to the Valley of Fire this afternoon to catch the sunset.  We then drove back through the northern edge of Lake Mead and found this amazing spot where the lights from Vegas were just stunning.  We set up the tripod and I attempted to do star trails, but didn’t really succeed.  Not dark enough.  However, I did capture the stars, the moon, and light trails from all the airplanes in the sky over the city.  We were here for over an hour and a half . . . mesmerized.  Only a few cars passed by on the road while we were there.  This shot is my attempt at doing sync flash – something MTM taught us when we shot on the Strip a few nights ago.  Not sure I was 100% successful as it seems the background is out of focus.  The first shot is the original with just a bit of LR4 editing.  

D800e, 70-200mm VRII lens @ 70mm, 2 sec @ f6.3, 800ISO, and SB800 flash mounted on camera set at zero.  

312-365

312-365

I ended up not really liking that the background was out of focus, so took it in to LR4 and reworked it . . . adding in the starry moonlit sky from another photo I took just a bit earlier in the evening.  I think I like the reworked version best.

This is my edited/reworked version.

312-365 reworked

312-365 reworked

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