Lava Light Lesson #32…Preparation Brings Good Luck

A couple of things I hear in the gallery all the time…”You must have really good cameras.” and. “Looks like you got lucky on that shot.”

I plead guilty to the first one…I do have really good cameras. However, I was getting some really nice shots when I had fairly low end cameras. The operator of the camera has quite a bit to do with the final products. That said…yup, good to have the good equipment.

The second one…we most often make our own luck. One of the reasons that CJ is our master photographer is that he is also our master planner. He researches or refers to his notes to know when the Milky Way will come up over the horizon, when the moon will set, what time the sun will rise, where in the sky we will find the heart of the Milky Way and what the weather is likely to be at the remote location he has chosen for the evening shoot. Same holds true for when the swell will arrive at our favorite locations, from what direction, at what tide level and the speed and direction of the wind…all critical factors for getting lucky getting a wave shot.

So my advice is to know before you go. If you travel out to the desert to grab a Milky Way shot…and you didn’t check the moon, sun and weather..along with the position of the Milky Way…you WILL be relying on luck to get your shot. Make your own luck and plan for success.

Here is an example from early this morning. CJ knew the moon would not be a factor, knew the time the sun might start to light the sky, figured out where the Milky Way would rise above the horizon and where the weather might be good for our early season Milky Way photo mission. We then had to go up to 9000 feet to get above the clouds and rain and find a four wheel drive road that would take us to an area a bit protected from the raging wind…and then get there early enough we could scout the area for a sturdy tree with few leaves…anchored in lava with very little grass around it…so the tree movement would not show up in our long exposures. We dressed for the cold…and it was cold as could be. We brought gloves and hats and flashlights for scurrying around on the rugged lava…and then settled in to be ready for just the right amount of light in the sky to turn the sky blue and to bring out the colors of the Milky Way. About the only luck we needed was to not break an ankle in the dark on the a’a lava boulders. The rest of the shoot went according to plan and the photo below is typical of our good result this morning. Aloha.

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