Sponsored by Zappos
I haven't seen a proper Autumn in over 7 years. I was living in Spain, then Florida, and then San Diego, in each of those places the leaves never turned, the temps sort of dropped about three to five degrees and everyone threw on a long sleeve t-shirt instead of a short sleeve and went about their business. But in New England, Fall is an EXPERIENCE. I was beyond excited to see some of the colors this year, so in the last week I went up to Vermont and the Catskills in Upstate New York in separate trips.
The weather did not look promising for my Vermont trip. Rain was in the forecast and that meant my plans to hike Vermont's highest peak, Mt. Mansfield, for foliage views might be spoiled. But I woke up and started hiking anyway. I thought maybe I'd hike above the clouds, or it would clear up by the time I made the summit. And I wasn't exactly wrong. On my was down after summiting, the clouds opened for about 90 seconds, and the view was amazing.
All the rain meant that the waterfalls were flowing strong, and they were spectacular. I had no idea there are so many gorgeous waterfalls flowing into crystal clear pools. New England reminds me a little bit of the Pacific Northwest with the amount of rain and the landscape, it just has smaller mountains and no volcanic activity.
Hiking in all this rain means mud, and this was my first time testing out my Keen Targhee EXP hiking shoes from Zappos. Zappos had them delivered super fast, just in time for my trip. I generally dislike burly hiking boots and prefer hiking in trail runners, but trail runners are not waterproof. These Keen hiking shoes from Zappos are absolutely the best of both worlds. They have the comfort of a trail runner but are as waterproof as hiking boots. I stepped in countless mud puddles, streams, and rivers, and as long as I didn't go in deep enough for the water to go over my ankles my feet stayed completely dry. I truly love these hikers and I never thought I'd find a shoe that did everything in these conditions.
Later in the week a friend and I decided to head to the Catskills to go paddle boarding. We found a nice spot and had the place to ourselves while the leaves fell down around us. The water was freezing cold, but the air temperature was warm.
Leaf peeping season in New England is only part of the way over, and I can't wait to see what other beautiful views this season has in store for me. If you have a favorite spot in New England I should check out this season, or any season, let me know in the comments!
I suppose the first thing I should tell you is that there are no "best settings" for night sky or long exposure photography. But while there may not be standard settings for every night sky image, there are some best practices, and I'll tell you where I normally start.
Use Manual Focus
One of the first things I do when photographing the night sky is switch my lens to manual focus. If you don't take this crucial step your autofocus will rotate back and forth forever and never allow you to actually take a photo. Once I've flipped the switch to manual focusing I usually set it close to the infinity symbol on the lens.
Whenever photographing long exposure images of the night sky, I like to have something of interest in the foreground. Ultimately where you set your focus depending on how far away you are from your foreground subject, or point of interest that you would like to have in focus. All lenses are different and yours may not have an infinity symbol so you will have to use trial and error in order to focus, or switch your camera to "Live View", use a bright flashlight or headlamp and shine it at your foreground object and rotate your lens back and forth until it comes into focus.
Long Exposure Settings
Your settings really depend on how dark it is where you are photographing. For instance, if it is a full moon versus a new moon your settings will be completely different. How much light pollution is there where you are? Which way is your camera facing? What time of night it it? All of variables come into play when deciding which settings to use.
But...here's a good place to start:
With a 16-35mm f2.8 lens
30 second shutter
If that is too dark I recommend only changing the ISO to a higher number if you are attempting to get a photo of the Milky Way. Increasing the shutter speed from 30 seconds could create "star trails" as the camera begins to read the Earth's rotation during longer exposures.
If that is too bright I recommend bringing down the ISO. You can also shorten the exposure by changing the shutter speed. Play around with your settings until you get a result you like.
Create images like this by stacking individual 30 second images together in the FREE software StarstaX
Gear You Need
Having the right gear for the job is important up to a point. While you can take night sky photos with some smart phones using apps like NightCap Pro, you'll probably want at least an entry level DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera. Decide what your goal is for the images. I.e. sell them to magazines and stock agencies, or simply post to Instagram. If you decided you would like to take professional level photos you will need a higher end DSLR. Depending on your camera body, you will also need a remote control release or an intervalometer. And of course, you will always need a tripod.
Here's the camera set up I use (click on the equipment name to find out more info about it):
Canon 5d Mark IV
Canon 16-35mm F2.8
Here's what I recommend for beginners:
Canon Rebel T7i, or
Canon 50mm F1.8
Here are other options if you shoot Nikon, Sony, or want to try out Sigma & Rokinon lenses:
Sony Alpha a7R III
Rokinon 14mm F2.8
Nikon 14-24mm F2.8
Sigma 18-35mm F1.8
Tamron 15-30mm F2.8
Tokina 16-28 F2.8
As I heated ramen over a pocket rocket camp stove 5 years ago, my friend Jason smeared peanut butter on bread after a long day of canyoneering in Zion. He missed his mark, and ended up with peanut butter all over his hand, because his attention was focused on the on a grass fed bison burger, stuffed with fresh ginger and wrapped in a collard green. You see, our friend Moose had camp cooking down to an art. He was the master, and that summer we deemed him a "Backcountry Bulter". Fast forward several years and a lot of outdoor cooking experience and we've all stepped up our Backcountry Butler-ing game. Here's a recipe for a newly discovered summer favorite.
Sweet & Spicy Watermelon Cucumber Salad
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 lime, juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon El Yuecateco Red Sauce Habanero Pepper hot sauce
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups watermelon, chopped into 1 inch cubes
4 cups cucumber, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves (or mint if you prefer)
El Yucateco's Go Native campaign is all about celebrating summer and outdoor living & cooking with your friends and family. Whether that means a beach BBQ while enjoying the surf, grilling and boating out at the lake, or creative campfire cooking after biking, hiking, and taking in all nature has to offer. #FiftyYearsOfFlavor
A 3-Day Trip to the Catskills
Thank you to Moosejaw for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.
A couple weeks ago my husband, Craig, and I set off to explore the great unknown, AKA the Catskills. While known to many on the East Coast, and a popular vacation spot for New Yorkers, neither us had explored the area in the summer. Since relocating to the East coast this year, the number one thing on my bucket list was to see some waterfalls. On the journey our Moosejaw Madness water bottle and my Moosejaw half zip stretch fleece were go-to pieces of gear.
We headed west to Massachusetts and when we arrived at our first destination both of us commented how it felt like we were in Oregon. Bash Bish Falls was a just a taste of what the area had in store for us. We hiked along the creek, clear enough to see the multi-colored stones on the bottom, until we arrived at a spectacular waterfall pouring nearly 60 ft down from a deep canyon above. We stayed for hours, exploring down the canyon, finding other little waterfalls, and soaking in the warm weather.
The next day we awoke early, packed up our canyoneering gear, and headed to a spectacular 231 ft free hanging rappel. I'd seen photos of Kaaterskill Falls years ago, marking it down on my mental checklist. As I approached the edge of the top of the falls I saw a woman relaxing in the sun. She asked if I had just come from the bottom and we had a brief conversation. I continued onto the other side of the river and then the edge of the drop to set up the rappel. After I finished the rappel and was hiking back up the trail (there is no other way to get down other than this trail) I encountered the woman again. She looked as if she saw a ghost and asked if I had taken a different way down. I said I had rappelled the waterfall. She became very animated and said she has been coming here 20 years and she's only seen someone do that once, and she wished I would have told her so she could record.
That afternoon we set off to mountain bike at Windham Mountain. Our chosen trail climbed over 1200 ft to the top of the mountain, and then the actual fun began. I hate going up on a mountain bike, but I love going down! We tried our hand at tandem mountain biking, but I'm not sure we were doing it right.
The next day we spent most of the day lounging at Peekamoose Blue Hole, a jewel toned swimming hole in the Sundown Wild Forest. This area has some amazing beauty, but damn are they good at naming things. After that we decided to rappel one more waterfall, Buttermilk Falls, just down the road from Peakamoose.
That evening we camped at a lovely site with a friend, and the next morning we headed back to Providence happy with what we'd seen, but knowing there was so much more to explore.
Location: Fjällräven Cambridge, 63 Church Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Date: Wed, July 11, 2018
Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT
Join us for a one-night adventure photography workshop! With a little practice, your snapshots, postcards, and instagram posts can be crafted into a unique narrative — and in this one-of-a-kind workshop, you'll learn the secrets that outdoor visual storytellers swear by to turn those creative sparks into polished and published photos. Whether you're a climber, skier, hiker, alpinist, surfer, or weekend warrior, learn to share your adventure stories in a new way!
Join Kat Carney, outdoor photographer and climber/canyoneer/surfer, to learn tricks of the trade. She will share secrets of the travel industry, and give hands-on, practical tips for shooting, editing, and publishing your photos. Photographers of all experience levels are welcome — wherever you are in the creative process, you'll leave with concrete and helpful hacks to immediately start crafting your individual story.
Kat will discuss how to work your camera, tips for dynamic composition and lighting, and how to create visual interest anywhere. She will also talk about story-telling through images. There will be a Q&A session about publishing, how to pitch stories, working in the outdoor industry, etc. If you're interested in getting sponsored, selling blog posts, or just telling better stories on Instagram, this is the place to bring your burning questions.
No experience is necessary; just bring an open mind, a laptop or pen or pencil and notebook to take notes if you feel inclined, and your creative sense of curiosity. Whether you're brand-new to photography, consider yourself a hobby photographer, or want to pursue professional publication, you'll leave this workshop one step closer to meeting your goals.
This workshop is brought to in partnership with Fjällräven Cambridge, Outdoor Women's Alliance, and Misadventures Magazine.
Another video in my editing series. If you'd like to know how I edit landscapes, check this one out! Make sure to like and subscribe on YouTube.
Kat Carney is an outdoor adventure photographer. She loves surfing, climbing, canyoneering, and mountaineering, and can often be found wandering around both the east and west coasts in her built out suburban. See her adventure wedding portfolio at www.swellandstone.com.