White Dome Geyser

While I was out in Yellowstone a few months back I was determined to shoot some geysers at night under the stars.

While I made made plans to do this all by my lonesome, I actually ran into a friend earlier in the day and he had mentioned he was planning to do some night geyser shooting, too.  He even mentioned the same geyser I wanted to go to, White Dome Geyser.  So later that night we met up at the geyser.

Now, shooting these starry scenes, or even the Milky Way isn't rocket science.  You have to set your camera to Manual Mode.  Start by selecting your aperture as wide open as you can get.  If your lens goes to F/4, choose that...if it goes to F/2.8, then choose that aperture.  Next set your shutter speed to 30 Seconds.  Lastly you have to adjust your ISO.  I usually start at around 1600 and adjust.  If the image needs to be brighter bump your ISO up.  If it's too bright, simply lower your ISO.  That's it!

I'll admit, though in this image I was using my Sony A7S.  It can shoot in the dark without much noise, so it's kinda like cheating.  I shoot this at ISO 5000, which is still "low" for this camera.

ISO 5000, 24mm, F/2.8 @ 30 seconds

I processed this image using Lightroom.  The new Dehaze Tool in Lightroom really made the sky pop on this image.

I mentioned I shot this with my Sony A7S, but I also used my Tamron Lenses 24-70 F/2.8 Lens.  The Milky Way was actually visible above the geyser, but I didn't have a wide enough lens to capture it all.  So I settled for the stars and glowing colors of the north.

The Aftermath

Last year, after a workshop I was teaching in Grand Teton National Park was over, a few friends and I took an impromptu run up to Yellowstone.  There were several memories made on this trip and even more great photos!

The photo below was taken at Old Faithful.  Not really planning on photographing it at this time, we kind of casually pulled up for a restroom stop.  Then on our way out the geyser was erupting, so we grabbed our cameras and took a few shots.  By the time we had cameras and got close enough most of the crowd had dispersed and the eruption was all but over.

I normally don't include people in my photos often, but when they do a few things like show scale...and emotion, it's hard not to.  

I quickly grabbed this image with my Tamron 24-70mm lens.  I shot it at 70mm mostly because we were late and I am slow.  I needed all the reach the lens had.  I shot this in Aperture Priority at F/16.  Setting the ISO to 100 yielded a shutter speed of 1/60th.  That is a bit slow, but the VC of the lens kicked in and helped out a lot!

After processing in Lightroom I sent this image over to the Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 filter to do the black and white conversion.  I added some grain during the black and white processing step.  I am pleased with the classic look.