How I got here
A few days ago I was working on this image from Canada Cliffs in Acadia National Park, and caught myself wondering if it was really that good. I was questioning if it was worth sharing. I did post it, and realized after the fact that my past self, the version of me from 2013 who was standing in a field in the dark, attempting to photograph the big dipper, and wondering if i was doing anything right, would be excitedly asking how i did that. It changed my perspective in a way i definitley needed.
Could I do it better? I hope so, and I will probably go back and shoot from this location again. I already have ideas for different techniques to try here.
Has someone else already done it better? Maybe, but it doesnt mean i cant do it too.
Would Kyle from 2013 look at it and get excited and be inspired to learn how to do it? Hell yeah he would, because I think its comparable to photographers I admired and learned from, and am still impressed by.
So lets go on a little adventure through time, starting in December 2013 on a frozen pond in Colchester, Vermont. I couldnt feel my feet or fingers, but holy crap those specks on the back screen are stars! So it was fine. Toes aren’t that important.
March 2014, and I got an intervalometer and and learned how to stack images to make startrails. It was also super cold this night at the edge of Lake Champlain in Milton, Vermont.
May 2014, and its milky way season in the northern hemisphere again, if you go out at 3am. If i remember correctly, I slept about 3 hours before going out and shooting through sunrise, and then went straight to work (and transformed into a zombie). My co-workers were not impressed. I thought this image was super amazing.
October 2014, and lightpainting and combining images with different exposure times come into play. AM Foster covered Bridge in Cabot, Vermont. Yes, the same Cabot as the cheese.
March 2015, and Ive entered the realm of composites, and learn about the joys of photoshop layer masking.
June 2015, and ive upgraded my equipment from a Nikon d70s to a d7000 (which is till my primary camera) and my maximum ISO has tripled, allowing me to capture more detail in the night sky. I had essentially reached a point in my skill level that my old equipment was starting to hold me back.
Jan 2016. Startrails, multiple exposures, masking, blending, essentially refining my process and practing. (and learning from the past and dressing properly for winter at night in the northeast. I could feel all my fingers and toes that night. Height of land in Rangely, Maine.
June 2016. I’ve made it to Acadia! OMG Im actually shooting from Sand Beach! First full arch milky way panorama! just trust me that this is HARD and took a really long time to shoot and merge because there are over 30 images there.
October 2016 Maybe one of my best pieces so far? Again, multiple exposures, lots of images, lots of masking and blending. Almost giving up several times, starting over at least 3 times. 10 hours of work is probably a low estimate on this one. I explained my process here, which is essentially the same work flow as how I do the majority of my images now, and a workflow that took years to practice and develop.
And finaly, 2 weeks ago, July 2017 From the southern coast of Mount Desert Island in Down East Maine
Art is hard. It takes a lot of practice and repetition, and most importantly, time and patience. It’s not going to happen overnight, but the image you manage to create will gradually get closer to the image you’re imagining, as the the best you can do gets better. Sometimes you just have to compare yourself to your previous best to see any change.
Looking at your art and seeing flaws isnt always a negative thing, but a way to find things to practice more, so your next personal best will hopefully be better.
Never stop learning.