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Big Horn Sun Pillar

Big Horn Sun Pillar
Big Horn Sun Pillar

Capturing a Big Horn Sun Pillar: I had to drive about 10 miles south of my ranch to have this line up a few days ago to Capture this Sun Pillar over the Big Horn Mountains. The weather window between me and those little 13,000 foot high peaks just left of the sun has been closed recently. As I type this, tonight looks to be a repeat of this performance but the sun will be over the V notch . It’s all about weather, moisture in the air mostly, maybe smoke these days. We will see……So I’ll take a drive to start with with a LONG lens say 600 mm tonight before sunset…

Photographic musings:

Looks like a gas flame off the ridge to me lolol… Those Hills are 130 miles out from the camera. This image is 100 miles wide as well at the Big Horns.

There is a lot to be said for having a mirrorless camera built to look right at a really bright sun. Of course you would never look through a standard DSLR camera to do this. The direct optic path through the camera to your retina would blind you. Don’t try this with a DSLR. Only use mirrorless cameras for such things where you are looking at a video of what your are taking a photo of. Know what is safe before you try this at home. You could also damage your gear if it’s not rated for this. My Sony’s do fine (large sensor Alpha 7’s. )

This light level is a pretty rarified ultra-bright playground for most photographers…. you obviously need Manual Camera settings. High F-stop, High shutter speed and Low ISO. Your basically shutting the camera down to light. But you have to have enough to see the silhouettes in the image. Every camera setting depends on lenses and lighting so using my system of priorities, you figure out the settings pretty quickly.

You know your not going to be shaking the camera at high shutter speeds of 1/2000th or so. Iso 100 which is as low and most cameras under 1200 bucks for the body go. And balance the light equation with f-stop. F-stop is aperture size…. higher number means smaller aperture. Your basically looking here at one focal plane at infinity so ANY f-stop setting will work. Changing f-stop higher will just defract light a bit more but with high settings , you get less light into the camera than low f-stop numbers. (low f-stop # = big aperture/pupil of the camera)

There, now you know everything I know about setting up your camera for this high light.

Being a 2:1 Aspect image at high resolution, this is two 560mm shots side by side combined in the digital dark room. It is a composite but an accurate one showing the scene as my Sony Alpha 7R4 saw it.

Location: Bliss Dinsoaur ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.