One of my favorite hikes in Big Bend National Park is the hike up the Grapevine Hills trail to Balanced Rock. We decided during my last trip to hike up in the middle of the night in order to photograph the Balanced Rock night sky. We then stayed there to photograph the sunrise. One of my favorite photographs from Big Bend was a sunrise photograph from this exact location.
I struggled whether to “light paint” the formation with my flashlight or not. We conducted a number of tests, none of which we liked. So, I settled on a slight lighting effect in order to distinguish the rock formation from the black background. Light painting can be very difficult depending on the proximity of the area being painted. Longer distances require more power while shorter distances require subtle lighting. For that reason, we carry a variety of flashlights that provide us some light painting options.
This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5DS using my Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 Lens set on 16 mm. The camera was set on Manual mode with the aperture set at f/4, shutter speed at 20 seconds and the ISO set at 5,000. This is a single image processed in Lightroom, Photoshop and Nik Color Efex Pro.
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