Capturing the light.

Mt Rainier

Mt Rainer is a photographer’s dream.  I’ve seen incredible shots from here.  Just as I was planning, I saw a photography workshop, and I signed up. The workshop was held by StarvingPhotographer.  Three students and one teacher, we met around 6pm in Paradise Inn parking lot.  From there, we went shooting wild flowers until sunset.  Something unexpected happened, my tripod got broken. I still managed to get many great shots with the broken tripod.

When we were shooting the flowers, the main challenge is the balance the aperture and speed since there is wind.   It was challenging to get a moment of flowers being still.  So the speed need to be fast enough to avoid the blur, and aperture needs to be small so more depth of field can be captured.


I’ve liked photography since 2001 when I graduated from graduate school, and I used to support and maintain a large photography forum that has almost 20,000 users.  This workshop was that moment of life that I realized for all these years, I didn’t really know photography.  It is enlightening, and definitely a turning point for me.

All of us pretty much shot from 7pm through 8am the next day with a couple of hours sleep, a total of 11 hours.  We learned how to shoot macro, sunset, flower, star trail, and sunrise.

The most important advice I got was:

“Always shoot in RAW for landscape photos”


The main thing that I learned from this trip about photography was:

  1. Always shoot in raw.  This is crucial for shooting landscape at the hours of sunset, sunrise or night as raw allows you to adjust all the parameters much more than JPG can.
  2. Wait for the best light, and that is sunset and sunrise hours.

Here is a rough steps on how to take Star Trail photos, be warned that it is addictive and it is better done with group.

Take 10 shots, each shots roughly 3 minutes exposure, f4, ISO200. (do 1 test shot first to see if the exposure is right)
Use Intervalometer to set the 10 shots of 3 minutes with a internal stop of 1 seconds. Anything longer than 1 second, the star trail will have noticeable gap.

From Lightroom, Select all 10 photos, then Edit in Photoshop in Layers

Layers – Blending using Lightening.

Further refining:
Gradient – pick type as foreground transparent, 2nd one.
Edit -> Fade Gradient

Multiple Layers – Some unwanted details, you can:
Select the layer that needs to be removed, select B as Brush, mode CLEAR, black on white, brush over things not needed.

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