June 17th, 2013:
We get a huge amount of questions/compliments about our Astro-Engagement/Wedding photography sessions (Can we do these during our Los Angeles wedding? How long do I have to stand still? Is it photoshopped?), and since these sessions were just featured on PetaPixel, I figured now is a great time to answer some questions and help if you want to plan one of these astounding sessions.
First of all, no it’s not photoshopped. Felicia and I are very lucky to have clients that utterly trust us, even when we tell them to meet us outside a dodgy motel in the middle of the desert at 2am, then get in our car and drive to where we can find the least possible light. Then, through a very technical mixture of long exposure, speedlites(flashes) and couples who are willing to hold very still while I tinker like a madman, we are able to create a unique mix of astrophotography and portraiture that I personally had not seen before (not to say I invented this or that no one else out there is doing this).
Secondly, no, we probably can’t do this at your wedding, or anywhere within 100 miles of a major city/light pollution. In Death Valley we have to contend with the lights of Las Vegas and on the horizon in Joshua Tree we are glimpsing Palm Springs. Sometimes these lights can add to the picture, but mainly they just affect the ability to truly appreciate our night skies. If you have never stood in the middle of the desert on a moonless night, you are in for a treat.
Speaking of the moon, we don’t want that either… if we want to see the most stars, we need it to be as dark as possible. I haven’t experimented with this rule yet, but I like to schedule these session +/-5 days of a moonless night. I am interested in shooting a long lens, full moon session (think moon silhouettes), but that’s next on the list of to-dos.
Lastly, and most importantly, clouds will ruin this shoot quicker than anything else – so up until now we have stuck with the dryer climes of the California deserts (but this too may change soon).
We love finding new and unconventional techniques and locations for our shoots. Thanks again to our amazing clients who trust us and our seemingly crazy ideas!
The light in the sky at the bottom left of the above picture is actually Las Vegas, which is about 100 miles away from where we were shooting. It’s a bit insane, but even the smallest light in the distance can be extremely amplified when working with the long exposure time of astrophotography.