August 2006 235 Laguna Morning
During my morning meditation I often get an inspiration for a photograph. One particular morning I saw that I should go to the Laguna de Santa Rosa, a watershed in Sonoma County, at midnight under a full moon.
That evening my wife and I went out to dinner. As we were driving home
I noticed a giant full moon. I hadn’t realized tonight was going to be the night. I dropped off my wife, gathered my photo gear, and drove to the Laguna where I had to climb over a barbed wire fence with all my photography gear and tripod. Then, I had to walk about a half mile in the dark over uneven ground to get to the right spot, but it was worth it.
I envisioned this image to be in the early morning. To accomplish this I had to set the exposure to about 30 seconds. Exposing for such a long time turned the dark night into a tranquil morning, It’s all a matter of exposure.
The “before” shot shows what the scene actually looked like at midnight.
The moon was incredibly bright. The fragrance of new mown hay filled the air. It was a magical evening. If I wasn’t involved so passionately in my craft, I never would have experienced standing alone in the middle of this remote field at midnight! When I got home, I was too excited to sleep. I loaded my images into the computer to see what I had. The results were exceptional but not to my standard; something was missing. I decided to let it simmer overnight and tackle it again in the morning.
In the previous spring, I had photographed a series of egrets flying to their nesting trees on West Ninth Street in Santa Rosa. Now I went through my files and found the perfect image. The challenge was to find a photo that matched the lighting I wanted. It had to be backlighted to illuminate the wings properly to look authentic. The next step was to photoshop the egret into the moonlit scene. It didn’t look natural until I duplicated the image, flipped it over and put it into the water to look like a reflection. To further add realism, I added a ripple to the water to suggest that the egret had just taken flight.