Alone time in nature has the effect of recharging emotions and grounding you to reality. You can absorb some of the calm energy that the natural world emits. A forest is a great monastery. It’s still and silent but you seem to come out of it a lot wiser.
I regularly explore the woods on the family land. I spent this weekend out there and I feel completely revitalized. Found lots of interesting flora, some salamanders, beetles, grubs, spiders, and one snake.
Also managed to total my bike. Apparently riding through uncharted woods is a good way to snap your drivetrain. Mountain bike on the wishlist.
This is some fun and easy photography you can do at home with just cell phone cameras. We turned on the flashlight on one of our phones and put a crystal on top. We turned the lights off and went under some furniture for as much darkness as possible.
Then you can simply adjust your camera settings until the crystal shows detail and is well lit. The result is a floating crystal on a black background!
From there you can make some simple edits to polish off the image.
My sister and I have a thing where I get a photo of her doing the peace sign everywhere we go. We have hundreds of these photos stored up over the years, spanning across multiple states and stories. Here’s one from Father’s Day with some minimal effort digital spunk added to it!
Macro photography is a great way to marvel at the smaller parts of creation.
Each year Louisiana Spring fills our fields with thousands of tall-standing thistle flowers, each with their own blend of purple and violet, attracting dozens of insect species.
These vibrant pink and purple thistle flowers attract bees, ladybugs, and other insects every springtime.
A lady bug exploring a thistle.
A blooming Wisteria vine is a favorite of the honey bee.
Spring flora prepare to seed and germinate as the first warmth arrives in South Louisiana.
An infant wild rabbit hiding in the underbrush.
Photographer Comment: I found this baby rabbit on a nature hike while looking to photograph wild rabbits running off as I walked through their territory. This was the only goober I found and I held him for a little bit before putting him safely back in his nest in the underbrush.
A hawk roams the skies over a cow pasture in Maurice, Louisiana.
Haunted & Abandoned Buildings in Louisiana
Nature adopts what we abandon – as is her sacred right. Eventually pulling it back into her Earth as dust through ancient alchemy.
The 20+ year abandoned school was quiet, but didn’t feel empty. Filled with the Ghosts of the old souls who once walked the halls, eager/bent on being remembered
Zachary Richard is a pinnacle of Louisiana music culture.
Zachary Richard photos. Old house photos. Festivals. etc
The Engineering group at ULL built a Formula SAE racecar with a 650cc motorcycle engine and other donated parts.
The Cajun Heartland State Fair is a long tradition in Lafayette, Louisiana in the Cajun Dome parking lot known as Cajun Field. These photos were taken in a long exposure, capturing the moving light of the attractions and creating a ghostly, empty feeling for the participants.
Cajun Heartland State Fair long exposure photos
Photos of Louisiana’s Night Sky & Nightscapes
Wispy evening clouds over the sunset paint a skyscape over the Cargill Salt Mine in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.
Wise old pine trees contemplate a starry night over Louisiana’s Kisatchie National Forest at the Indian Creek campground. As the Earth rotates along her axis, the stars appear to move across the sky. After capturing over an hour of light, that movement appears as the star trails you see here.
Ever notice how trees never feel like strangers?
The winter milky way over a family camp in Pecan Island, bordering the swamp lands leading to the Gulf of Mexico. Pecan Island ranks very well on dark sky maps offering some of the best stargazing in the South. While the exposure time was increased to bring out more of the sky, what you see is more aligned with how God intended Creation to be admired without light pollution.
As the Earth rotates along her axis, the stars appear to move across the sky. After capturing over an hour of light, that movement appears as the star trails you see here.
My friend asked me to write about my experience out there to make the photo more magical. So I wrote a surreal one and another version that is far more accurate about my time out there.
Laying under a young spring sky with a cool northern blanket. Nothing between us and the great primal spirits of the cosmos. Their teach us ancient wisdom in silent languages.. We lay under a young spring sky with a cool northern blanket. until wakened by the new dawn
Honest Version: The campfire warms my face. Until the wind is scorn and burns my face with ash. I move my chair, but I cannot escape it. The smoke chokes me, and burns my eyes. Somewhere in the distance a child screams. A car passes by and I’m blinded by headlights. I rub my eyes and I see light spots. Dizzy, I stand. I need to lay down. Flailing, I fall from my hammock and plop onto the ground. It is dirty. Something is piercing my arm but I cannot see it.
I lay down to sleep beneath the infinite stars. A root of a tree feeds on water and nutrients in the soil as it pushes into my diaphragm. The night is perfect. I jump up in a panic when i realize I’ve lost my keys. I search for them frantically through the unkept grass and pine cones. Oh here they are they slipped out when I fell from the hammock. I forget that my camera is still on. I go and turn it off. I swat a bug. Fin.
For this project I wanted to personify the primal elements of Mother Earth; wind, water, earth, and fire. Using a double exposure technique I learned from a lot of YouTubers, I was able to make this series of elementals. The wind element is double exposed against a photo of a passing rainstorm with a rainbow. Fire consists of two separate fire exposures; one exposure for the trailing embers and another for the detailed flames in the face.
I wanted to capture my first deep sky object and the Orion Constellation is a beautiful and easy target. The scale of this object is unimaginable. The entire span of our solar system would barely register as a pixel in this image.
It felt overwhelming to see actual color appear in my image from pointing my camera into outer space.
To quote Kerry Kennedy of Acadiana Astronomy Club about this photo:
Barnard’s loop is tough. It’s mostly faint hydrogen-alpha wavelengths, so its really hard to capture with an unmodified dslr. Great work!
I’m no scientist, but this explanation makes a lot of sense. I had to stack a ton of photos together and do lots of photoshop kung fu to get even the slightest color and nebula data to show up in this image.
Date Taken: 1/5/2019 Location: Pecan Island, Louisiana ISO: 3200 Exposure: 1 Minute 20 Seconds (8 Composite Images) Lens: 50mm 1.8 Camera: Nikon D750 Additional Details: Standard tripod with a 2 second interval shutter delay.
In Lightroom I made adjustments to the white balance and removed vignetting on all 8 images. Then I moved them into Photoshop and followed a guide by Lonely Speck for LRGB processing, and made adjustments for taste. I copied the composite image three times to make three different layers: A high contrast black and white Detail layer, a low contrast black and white luminance layer where you capture the Nebulocity, and finally a layer that contains all of the Color. I made adjustments to each of them separately to find the right balance between low noise, lush color, and nebulocity.
Finally I made some minor color corrections and vastly increased the vibrance and saturation.
Here are my three layers in the final image.
This whole process took longer than a week tweaking it every night. I plan on taking more photos of this night sky object and to have improved photos in the future.
Another part of the challenge was when I noticed my histogram was almost off the chart. I was too excited during the shoot and forgot to check it. I also only had 8 exposures instead of the 32 exposures I had hoped to stack. So I didn’t have nearly as much detail as I’d hoped to work with in this image but all considering I’m still really blown away by how it turned out. After struggling with clearing up the noise for a few hours, I think it’s pretty okay for one of my first astrophotography shots.
Taken 1/5/2019 with a 50mm 1.8 at 3200 ISO. 8 composite images for a total exposure time of 1 minute 20 seconds.
You can check out this nebula with a good pair of binoculars.
On the darkest, clearest winter night of the year, the Milky Way is visible to the naked eye. Billions of suns come together to form the Milky Way arm you see above this camp in Pecan Island, Louisiana.
Date Taken: 1/5/2019 Location: Pecan Island, Louisiana ISO: 3200 Exposure: 1 Minute 40 Seconds (5 Composite Images) Lens: 24mm F/4 Camera: Nikon D750 Additional Details: Standard tripod with a 2 second interval shutter delay.
I imported the images to lightroom and made some white balance adjustments and fixed vignetting as best as I could. From there I exported them to Photoshop where they were aligned and stacked.
Next I did something called “LRGB processing” which I learned from a tutorial by Lonely Speck. You copy the composite image three times and make three different layers: A high contrast black and white Detail layer, a low contrast black and white luminance layer where you capture the Nebulocity, and finally a layer that contains all of the Color. This allows you to capture as much detail, nebulocity and color from your shots. It’s a really neat process. At first I was just a monkey following along with the tutorial but once it clicked I understood what I was doing and began to learn a lot.
Once the LRGB processing was complete I made some vibrance and color corrections. Finally, I copied one of my original layers and made adjustments only to the camp and foreground and added it to the final image you see here.
The conditions were near perfect for astrophotography so I head out to my family’s camp in a dark zone with some friends. We could see the Milky Way’s outer arm with the naked eye.
I took 5 composite exposures for a total of 1 minute 40 seconds of exposure time on a 24mm F/4 . Taken at the family camp in Pecan Island on 1/5/2019 during a stargazing trip my friends Bennett, Colby and Danny.
My histogram was not where I wanted it to be, so I didn’t capture as much data as I’d like. But that’s all part of the learning process. We’re going to keep going out there and to other dark sky zones and take more photos of the milky way. Hopefully each one is better than the last.
My emotions were beyond excitement when I saw the stacked image on my computer. My first ever Milky Way shot and it’s looming over the family camp. I also got a rush when I noticed you can faintly see the Andromeda Galaxy in the shot.
This is my first ever Milky Way photo! I’m beyond excited — I have a lot to learn about acquisition and post editing but I’m still more than happy with how this turned out. You can faintly make out the Andromeda Galaxy which blew me away when I noticed it.
Here’s my long exposure version of this angle. It’s about 42 minutes, resulting in star trails.