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Empire of the Stars


Still time-lapse Day-To-Night project of over 700 shots


Shiprock, New Mexico USA

Even though I arrived at the Shiprock formation right outside Shiprock, New Mexico early in the day, my photographic intentions were for the coming night. There at the base of this extinct volcano that the Navajos regard as an ancient spiritual monument, I scouted and planned for the Earth’s turn away from the Sun. And this area is in a good dark spot for nighttime star gazing - In fact I came here to execute a lengthy photo project starring, well... the stars. “Empire of the Stars” and the other images captured that night featured enhanced star trail captures. I had been exploring and developing complex processing methods to bring star trail images to a new visual and artistic level, if successful.


This image is formed from over 700 twenty second long exposures, five different programs (some taking hours for just one adjustment) and over a month to plan/develop.  It also is the longest processing project of 2019 coming from this night partially because of the most number of captures and challenge to capture it as a panoramic photograph of which is very rare to find.  In fact, it can be extremely difficult to pull off a great day-to-night photograph anyway - so adding star trails and the sun (the closest star to us) compounded the technical and processing complexity to the point that I started to doubt its outcome. The accentuated vibrant circles and arcs come from the stars subtle colors mostly (raw images captured and pre-processed with that in mind), wispy traveling clouds over the night and sky color from approaching dawn, horizon lights and air quality. Too many clouds, however, can ruin the entire night. But not tonight! After the cameras clicked away all night, I waited patiently, but apprehensively as I traveled back to the studio, hoping all the images from the sensors and cards gathered enough ancient starlight to compose epic astrophotography images.

This image is a still time-lapse day-to-night project that started before sunset and finally ended about 6am due to the cameras batteries being exhausted.  The holy grail of still time-lapse imagery is a successful day-to-night photograph and can entail extensive spans of time, energy, preparation and sometimes luck to land.

Video Below

Limited Editions 25, Artist Proofs 2

Audio Mood

Magic Sound Fabric - Suns of Sun

Tokyo Int'l Foto Awards 2020/2021 2nd Place Nature, GOLD Award
Moscow International Foto Awards MIFA 2020 GOLD Medal
MUSE Photography Awards 2022 Silver Award

World's Top 10 Landscape Photographers 2019 Bronze Award
ePHOTOzine 2020 Highly Commended Award, Reader's Choice Award
The Motif Collective 2020 February 2nd Place Landscape
One Eyeland International Submissions Photo of the Day March 2020
Fine Art Photography Awards Int'l FAPA 2020 2nd Place Panoramic
Siena Creative Photography Awards 2020 Shortlist Finalist
RISE Int'l Photo Awards 2020 Finalist Award
PX3 Prix de la Photographie de Paris 2020 SIlver Night Photography
ND Awards 2020 2nd Place Panoramic Silver Star Award
EPSON Int'l Pano Awards 2020 Silver Awarded
Tokyo Int'l Foto Awards 2020/2021 Print Exhibition 2022
Shoot The Frame STF 2022 March Finalist

World Masters of Photography WMPO 2023 Honorable Mention
MPI Master Photo Image Challenge 2022 Silver Award

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