Los Angeles is a well-known as a special place all for its diversity. For a photographer, it is even more spectacular as it offers a wide variety of environments to capture, so it is a diamond in the rough. Of course, the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills are excellent places for a photographer, but one of the reasons I call Los Angeles a diamond in the rough is because of places like Huntington Beach, a scene crawling with surfers, students, and partiers from dawn until dusk. However, it is from dusk until dawn when the real beauty of this place shines for me. When most people go to the beach at night, they see nothing but darkness and emptiness. This is why Huntington has almost a cult-like following at night, because it is where people deal with the troubles they just could not resolve during the day. On this night it was just me, with no one else in sight, and I didn’t feel dark or empty. I felt alive. Whether it was the mixture of the cold ocean breeze or the occasional drag race down PCH, something just made me feel like this place has a beauty I hadn’t seen yet. The only way I know how to really see the beauty in something is by capturing it in a photo, so I set out to do that with my trusty Sony A7II 35mm f2, and my new Alpine Spark. Long exposure photography has been a genre I have been obsessed with since I started my journey in photography back in 2015.The only thing stopping me from practicing and pursuing it was my lack of a wireless remote. Well, that has since changed and so has my photography. Long exposure shows you the beauty of things not one human being can see with their naked eyes and it showed me a side of Huntington I’ll never forget.
Life Guard Shack - Alex Rodriguez @ax.rodriguez
Light on the Beach - Alex Rodriguez @ax.rodriguez
As the heat starts to fade and the morning air gets a slight edge, here at Alpine, we've started reflecting on a wonderful summer of travel and local adventures. Seasons are quite visually and climatically present in our home of Colorado and we do our best to embrace the change. While there is a sadness for the end of summer, there is also an excitement for the slow approach of winter, its crisp beauty, and for us photographers, its endless golden hour. And not to be forgotten, autumn's fleeting splash of color along the way. We hope you'll make some time in the coming months to go outside or in and find your own gold.
Here are a few summer photos from the community that caught our eye:
Travis Maher times it just right on Independence Day.
@ant_pruitt with his take on street photography and some digital paint.
Small villages, big skies. Dhanker, India by one of the family @atulhaldankar
@storiesofpixels putting on a clinic of composition and light. The Louvre, Paris, France.
As always, please let us know if you need anything. Happy autumn!
-The Alpine Team
Here's another round of some of our favorite photos that you've taken. We're frequently inspired by the creativity and technical ability of Alpine photographers. We hope that by sharing these brief galleries you find inspiration through seeing what our community has been creating and maybe even feel motivated to explore your own creative boundaries. Please share your photos and time lapses for us all to see by using the hashtag #alpinelabs. :)
Could there be a more iconic shot of San Francisco than Francisco Pereira's?
Nige Levanterman takes in all the colors of Burano, Italy.
Richard Hazel gets his feet wet to photograph this ship wreckage.
Pier obsession by Joe Graham.
Brent Hall combines half a time lapse of shots to compile this single frame.
Sound wave by Ben Nimz.
We love seeing what you shoot! Tag your photos using #alpinelabs and follow us on Instagram to see more of what our community is creating!
The Alpine Team
The Alpine community consistently inspires us, makes us a bit jealous, and reaffirms our desire to make the best gear possible. Ultimately, we believe the world is a more open, honest and informed world when people create powerful photographs. So we get stoked on all the powerful photographs and time lapses that you take. Here are a few that caught our eye and would like to share with you.
The Skógafoss Waterfall in Iceland by Rohit Verma.
Early morning in Sydney by Billy Brown.
Richard Crook blends 5 images together to capture the soft headlight trails.
Nige Levanterman captures the chaos of London.
Flood gates by Ben Nimz.
Oliver Asis takes in a starry night from Anza Borrego desert in California.
Want to see more? Follow us on Instagram!
The Alpine Team
Over the past couple of years Atul has gone from an office career to a full time photographer working with clients like Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Jaguar. Here he shares a few of his photos and a little bit about what led him to say goodbye to a stable job and hit the road with a camera and motorcycle.
Photography for me started off when I moved out to Bangalore from Mumbai for work, and met my then girlfriend Sonia, who had a digital camera. We would travel to city outskirts on a motorcycle, looking out for beautiful landscapes it had to offer, and somewhere between packed weeks and long hours at work, we would be thinking of our next travel. We felt the need to capture these landscapes that had such an impact on our lives so we both put in our savings and bought our first dslr together. I instantly knew back then that this was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. Six years down the line, I am married to both, Sonia and photography, inseparable parts of my life.
I had worked for about 5 years in the IT Industry as a Human Resources professional when the photography bug bit me hard and I found myself at crossroads. One fine day, opportunity came knocking on my door as I got a chance to join PowerDrift, India's biggest automotive channel and above all a group of individuals determined to change the way people looked at automotive media, and I had a chance to bring timelapse to their already brilliant content. I did not waste a minute thinking and took the plunge thanks to a super supportive family who made this change from a working professional to an artist such an epic journey. Our undying love for our natural environments and to be surrounded by them, the desire to bring surreal beauty of our fragile and beautiful planet is a daily inspiration to be a photographer every single day. I have never felt better.
I believe time lapse is the only way we can bend, if not break the time-space continuum. It enables us to step back from a world that moves at a second's pace to visit a world that would otherwise be impossible for us to view. It shows me that beautiful things happen, when time passes, and that itself tells a tale. Change of seasons, nature's bloom and landscapes both urban and natural come alive when touched by time lapse. It has almost become a life mantra for me - "Why take a picture when you can take a timelapse." It’s a way of life for me now.
Time lapse in the last few years has exploded to everything from art to science. Across focal lengths, time lapse has the ability to go beyond an art, even aid science. Time lapse of satellite images is helping us understand how human activity is shaping the planet over time, while macro time lapses of micro-organisms and smaller objects is revealing nature's beauty and secrets. I have watched time lapses of bees making hives, plants growing, seasons changing over months almost every focal length and have learnt something about patterns that are almost invisible to our linear lives. Time lapse, is constantly evolving thanks to help from technology and a global community that tries many things; into so many other forms today. Motion control, hyperlapse and astrophotography are evolving fast. It is changing the face of landscape photography. And this dynamic nature of this art is what makes it worthwhile! It’s amazing.
When I took my first steps in the time lapse world, I was a bit worried about the sky-high cost of motion control equipment and even wondered if this was something for the masses - everyday people like me who pursued time lapse as a hobby - albeit a serious one. And I came across the Radian, which almost changed my life, and definitely changed my game. I spent the next 3 years with the Radian as a staple part of my equipment and it enabled me to create content that I never imagined. It took me from a hobby time lapse guy to a time lapse cinematographer, and is my inseparable companion on every assignment. It has never failed, or malfunctioned, from 40 degree (Celsius) summers to negative temperatures at 19,000ft, even when my cameras have refused to fire. It makes me feel proud to be associated with this brand, and the values your products stand by. Alpine Labs love for celebrating our precious environments is shared the family of artists they stand by, it feels amazing to feel like a part of this. I may have never met the people who make all this possible but I feel I know how they are, and that's the power of a good brand backed by solid values and amazing people. Three cheers to this team!
Whether it's time lapsing, taking photos or following other meaningful pursuits we hope that, like Atul, you find inspiration to chase after what matters most to you!
The Alpine Team
We love seeing what you are all creating with Alpine gear and where you're traveling around the world! Collectively you've been experimenting with new ideas and exposing us to new places and unique ways of seeing things. Here's a brief gallery of a few that we'd like to share with you. To see more, as well as share your photos, use #alpinelabs and be sure to follow us on Instagram. :)
Rohit Verma makes the tallest building in the world smooth and soft with this 60 second exposure in Dubai.
Speed of Light by Federico Beltran.
Eerie beams taken with a wide angle lens by Billy Brown.
Seattle in grey scale by Ben Nimz.
Jonathan Jonderko takes in the sunshine while snapping a selfie with the Brooklyn Bridge.
Want your photos in this blog? Tag them with #alpinelabs and we'll be sure to see them!
The Alpine Team
We know you have lots of options when it comes to photography gear. That's why we focus on making the most intuitive camera remotes available. Less time fussing with gear means getting the shot and more time doing what you love.
Wired recently put Pulse to their test. Read their full review to see what they think of Pulse.
The Alpine Team
By day, Nitish lives in Seattle, Washington tackling problems with creativity at Microsoft. By weekend, he roams Canada with Pulse looking to discover "the wild spaces that shape who we are." Here's a short selection of his latest essay, Moments from Canada.
"In these moments, you realize that travel matters. Adventure matters. These wild places matter. We, as humans, are stewards of these spaces and have a responsibility to protect them. Tomorrow, I’ll return to the world of meetings, to-do lists and phones. But for this moment, I stand quietly in awe of an awakening sun and the company of birds."
The Alpine Team
Oregon Trails came together somewhat by accident after I shot a telephoto north star time lapse that I wanted to see as a star trail clip (the opening shot). I loved that first clip so much that I wondered if I could also use star trail stacking to show night shots from my longer Discover Oregon and Portraits of Oregon films in a unique and refreshing way. Over a few weeks, I then reprocessed my files and put together Oregon Trails.
I love shooting time lapse because it gives me an excuse to spend time in beautiful locations and take a part of those places home with me. Most of these shots go toward making longer nature & time lapse films.
Most of this was shot on a Canon 6D, with a Michron or Radian, sturdy tripod, and Rokinon manual prime glass (14mm, 24mm, 135mm). However, there’s a handful of shots in Oregon Trails I captured years ago with my old Canon T2i, a camera I now consider ‘below spec’ for astrophotography. To my surprise, I found that the stacking process can turn even noisy and imperfectly focused shots from an old entry-level camera into beautiful star trail videos.
Depends on where you start counting from! Oregon Trails is mostly a re-imagining of time lapse content that I already had sitting on my hard drives from past and in progress projects. The entire film came together from concept to delivery in under two weeks. That said, the shots took dozens of trips around Oregon and over three years to assemble. A lot of time spent camping out with Tamara Logsdon or Lance Page and a growler of IPA. I even blew out and replaced my 6D shutter at 300,000 actuations a few months ago, but it didn’t feel too much like work!
For night shots, I’m almost always camping near where the camera is, though I have left my camera several miles from where I’m sleeping. I usually try to scout a spot before dark and then head out after sunset to set up the camera. On a bright moonlit night I might get several shots in a night, moving the camera every 45 minutes or so, but typically just one or two on a dark sky evening. Focusing with live view is crucial for sharp stars, and if there’s rain in the forecast I’ll make sure to have a cover over the camera.
After the shot, most of the magic happens in post. I’m a bit unusual in that I render time lapse with Blackmagic Davinci Resolve, which is much faster than After Effects if you have the right computer hardware. For anyone who wants to know my full workflow, I made a full 14 part time lapse course on my process from gear, to shooting, to rendering.
There are a handful of different tools you could use do this, but I used the freeware program StarStaX. Since the program doesn’t recognize camera RAW, I took time lapses I had already rendered into DNxHR 4K, and re-exported them as TIFF stacks via Davinci Resolve. I then ran these 45,000+ still frames through StarStax with a variety of different settings, and used the ‘save after each step’ setting to create separate stacks of TIFF files that showed the growing star trails. Many hours and a few terabytes of data later, I compiled these into videos with Resolve for the final film.
I couldn’t believe how the Radian spins and pans came out. In my first draft for Oregon Trails I intentionally avoided stacking shots with motion control thinking they would be a mess, but did render one as a test. Glad I decided to! Adding camera motion to the spin of the sky led to the wonderful abstract star trail patterns visible at 0:45, 2:44, and 3:47.
The solar eclipse! Have a spot staked out on a family friend’s ranch in Eastern Oregon. Hoping to avoid the crowds and get some shots to bring home. After that not sure, may try to find some lava again…
Eds. note: Here's what Tyler shot during the eclipse.
All my films are hosted on Vimeo either as free shorts or via Vimeo on Demand. The longer on-demand projects are about to go live on Amazon Prime Video, so anyone with a Prime account will be able to watch them there for free soon. For more context on my films, plus my photography and nature recordings, check out my website.
The Alpine Team
In case you haven’t heard, a complete solar eclipse will take place on August 21st in the USA! This once in a lifetime experience can be discussed both simply (the moon blocks the sun) and as complexly as you can imagine. We’ve done the hard work of sifting through a few dozen NASA pages, photography guides, and misc blog posts and compiled the most important bits for both viewing and photographing the eclipse. We’ve even added a few ideas to help you navigate the circus of people trying to do the same thing!
Even if you can’t make the eclipse, it is really fun to learn about, and you can still watch a live stream of the event. So without further ado, we present the Alpine Labs Complete Guide to the Solar Eclipse. (11 minute read)
Table of Contents:
**We’re also doing an Eclipse Photo, Time Lapse and Writing contest. See below for more info!**
The percentages in this photo show the amount that the moon will block the sun. You will notice that a partial eclipse will be visible all across North America and even into parts of South America. Source: Nasa
While we encourage all of you to just go out and enjoy the eclipse (especially if it is your first solar eclipse!), if you do take photos we would love to see them. So we’re having a contest for Best Eclipse Photo and Best Eclipse Time Lapse for the really ambitious. There is also a separate category for the writers out there: Best Eclipse Story. We’re sure there will be some adventures had and we want to hear about them! Not sure what you want to shoot or where you want to go? Read the full guide below!
Anyone can enter! Just tag #alpinelabs in your photo on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter or email us your submission within 48 hours of the eclipse.
**The three winners will receive a free Pulse or Spark, and a $200 gift certificate to Adorama. We’ll also feature the winners in our newsletter after the eclipse.
Full details, including terms & conditions are here.
Solar eclipses are rare, very rare. While technically they do happen every few years, they are frequently only partial eclipses (some annular, some hybrid), and they are often in remote locations that are not easily accessible and don’t have easy sleeping accommodations… like the middle of the Atlantic ocean (2015) or in Antarctica (2021). The complete and total blocking of the sun’s light is unique and the last time one hit the United States was in 1979.
In short, the August 21st total eclipse will be visible from a small strip of land that stretches across America, starting in Oregon and ending in South Carolina.
The eclipse will begin (on land) in Oregon at Lincoln Beach at 9:05am PDT with totality (the brief moment when the moon fully blocks the sun) starting at 10:16am PDT. For the next hour and a half, the eclipse will travel across the United States (and time zones) and totality will finish at 2:48 EDT in South Carolina. Technically you can view total eclipse over both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans as well if you have a boat, just make sure your GPS is working. If you are not on the “line of totality”, you can still see a partial eclipse, which will be visible as far away South America and Europe.
To see exact eclipse times for locations all across the country, use this map.
If you attend an event (or even just attempt to read this whole blog post!) here are a few words you might want to know:
Totality: The brief moment when the moon fully blocks the sun.
C1,C2,C3,C4: The phases of the eclipse. C1 is the moment the moon starts obscuring the sun. C2 is when totality begins. C3 is when totality ends. C4 is when the moon stops obscuring the sun.
Partial solar eclipse: an eclipse where only part of the sun is obscured. For all locations outside of the eclipse path, viewers will observe a partial eclipse.
Corona: The burning atmosphere that surrounds the sun. This is the part of the sun that is still visible during totality
Umbral Shadow: the shadow that the moon casts upon the earth during a solar eclipse. If you are in the umbral shadow, you are experiencing totality.
Diamond Ring: a phenomena that happens before and after totality as the sun starts to become visible again and the eclipse looks like a ring with a vibrant diamond on one side of it.
Day long traffic jams, cell phone blackout zones, insufficient access to drinking water and restrooms - up to 7 million people from all over the world are estimated to travel to the eclipse path and city populations near or in the path are expected to double or triple over a few days. As amazing and jaw-dropping as this event will be, the day of will likely also be chaotic.
The American Red Cross is preparing for disaster level scenarios - ramping up staffing at hospitals, building emergency support shelters, and generally adding capacity to handle challenges.
In summary, be careful out there. Specifically, bring enough food, water and clothing to take care of yourself in case you are stuck in traffic for several hours or even up to all day. Also print out your directions as your phone’s GPS and Google Maps app will likely not work because of all the people jamming the cell phone towers.
Lastly, please bring your patience and be friendly. Everyone is out there to enjoy this natural wonder.
Get explicitly NASA approved glasses - like the ones sold here. Sunglasses will not work, and using non Nasa approved glasses brings the risk of damaging your eyes. Nasa says to buy glasses from these manufacturers who have approved materials. Random glasses purchased on Amazon or elsewhere may not be as safe as they claim. You can only look at the eclipse with the naked eye when the moon has fully blocked the sun (totality).
Protect your camera: Protect your camera with a solar filter or Neutral Density filter of at least 16 stops. Anything less and you risk burning out your sensor. Lastly, even with the filter on, do not look through your viewfinder. It will act as a small magnifying glass, focusing the light on your eyeball...kind of like creating fire with a magnifying glass as a kid, except your eye is on the receiving end. Plan to review test shots on your LCD monitor instead and save your eyes. Also note that leaving Live View on exposes your sensor to the sun, again risking damage to your sensor. If you must use Live View only do it for a second or two at a time.
If you want to stay in a town and don’t already have a hotel booked or have a ton of money, you are probably out of luck. Last minute eclipse trips will either require you to do a day trip, or camp in the middle of nowhere (campgrounds will be booked).
What kind of experience do you want?
Experiences can range from sitting in a busy city (Nashville), drinking a beer on an outdoor patio, to having camped in some isolated location in Wyoming for several days, to pulling over on the side of the highway for 5 minutes and watching totality.
Think about what you want from the day, and what you are capable of in terms of time and self sufficiency (take 3 days off? Backpack into a hidden lake? Take one day off and bring some audio books for the traffic?)
If you do go to a city and have the ability, biking and walking around will likely make things much easier. Last thing to note if still you are deciding on where to go, look at monthly trends on weather or if close enough to the day of, just the weather forecast. Clouds or thunderstorms will put a damper on your day.
Trying to decide where exactly to go? Use these maps and recommendations to help decide.
This is by no means a complete list as we trust travelers to know their basic needs. Here are a few key or easy to overlook items that are must haves:
There is a LOT of information regarding best shooting practices and techniques for the eclipse. Below we have three top resources that really dig into the nitty gritty. Fundamentally if you know how to shoot in Manual, it is still the same basic process of adjusting your setting to your desired exposure - especially during totality. Here are our high level recommendations:
Extra Recommended Photography Reading:
Ken Slute, Alpine Labs Advocate and Canon Explorer of Light has created a comprehensive resource on a variety of aspects of shooting the eclipse. This is the most thorough photography guide we have seen and is called Canon’s Total Guide to Totality: Solar Eclipse Photography
Be patient and ready. Totality will last only 2.5 minutes, and from what we’ve read it will feel like 8 seconds. It is best to not just stare at the moon for 2 minutes, as you will miss much of the drama.
As the moment gets closer, look around you to see the little details of how the world is changing. In the final moments before totality, the shadows on the ground will get sharper as the light becomes less diffuse. If you look in the distance you will be able to see the oncoming darkness and depending on your vantage point even watch the shadow line fly across the ground at 16 miles a minute!
As totality begins, you can remove your protective glasses and look directly at the moon. Remind yourself to look around you at the dark world you are now in. Watch the shadow line moving away from you as you approach the center of the eclipse. Look around as not too far away are 360 degrees of sunrises and sunsets happening extremely quickly. Clouds will be colored. Look back now at the moon, and now that your eyes have adjusted to the dark, try and notice more detail. Look back to the surrounding sky and see if you can see any stars. Look back one last time at the moon in the final moments of totality. Notice that is is just barely starting to get brighter and you should grab your solar glasses again. In a moment sunrise will be here and totality will have ended.
Do your best to enjoy the moment and experience the magic. It will be quick. For an inspiring and beautiful essay on what it feel like to be there in the moment and feel those 8 seconds, click here. We've also created an audio guide so that you don't need to look at your written notes for instructions or reminders during the eclipse.
Solar eclipse audio guide
Solar eclipse audio guide with background music
Have plenty of supplies to support yourself, be patient out there, don’t worry about missing the shot, and remember to enjoy yourself. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so if you have the chance to actually watch it in person, don’t sweat the minutiae. You are still getting to experience an incredible astrological event.
Source: Great American Eclipse
If you have any questions about the eclipse, please let us know! We’d love to help out and hope that you can get out there and enjoy it.
- Greg and the Alpine Team