Control the weather with lasers

Discovery News
  • RTX12K8N.jpg

    A lightning storm is pictured over the sea near the popular tourist destination of Cancun August 13, 2013. (Reuters)

What could be cooler than zapping clouds to make them do as you wish? The dream has been around a long time. Is it nuts?

A decades ago the only weather-related laser research hitting the science news pages was the limited success of New Mexico researchers who were trying to trigger lightning with high-powered lasers shot from a mountain top at passing thunderheads.

PHOTOS: It’s the Crazy-Extreme Weather Season

This is a pretty dangerous work, since the North American monsoon is what powers the thunderstorms in the Southwest and they can be pretty violently electric. They used mirrors to launch the beam perpendicular from its source.

But all that laser and lightning stuff is not where it’s at any more. More recently it’s been discovered that lasers can influence the water condensation in the air, which is a little lever that could perhaps be made into a bigger lever that could make it possible to squeeze more rain out of clouds in dry regions. Maybe. Hopefully.

The prospect is good enough that there was a Conference on Laser-based Weather Control in 2011 in Geneva. This year the same organizers are putting together their second international meeting: the Conference on Laser, Weather and Climate (LWC2013) at the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), once again in Geneva.

NEWS: How to Survive a Lightning Strike

Their website explained that “ultra-short lasers launched into the atmosphere have emerged as a promising prospective tool for weather modulation and climate studies.” They point out such prospects as the old lightning control dream, laser-assisted condensation, and then add “the striking similarities between the non-linear optical propagation and natural phenomena like rogue waves or climate bifurcations.”

More details regarding the science behind the project will be coming out of the conference itself, on Sept. 16-18. Meetings like these are critical for an unusual field because they require such a wide array of talents — meteorologists, atmospheric physicists, electrical engineers (someone has to work the laser), and so on — who may not all be employed at the same institution. Long gone are the days when two guys with a kite, key and a jar could do meaningful science.

Read more:

Pilot photographs amazing views from the cockpit




Pilot snaps stunning shots from cockpit


For Karim Nafatni, a room with a view is just one of his job’s perks. As a commercial pilot based in Dubai, Nafatni gets to witness epic, dramatic vistas and landscapes on a daily basis and lucky for us, he also happens to capture these stunning moments on camera.


Forget spending your workday in a windowless, view-obstructed office. How about spending it airborne, with a nearly 180-degree view of the ever-changing, limitless skyline?

For Karim Nafatni, this is just one of his job’s perks. As a commercial pilot based in Dubai, Nafatni gets to witness epic, dramatic vistas and landscapes on a daily basis and lucky for us, he also happens to capture these stunning moments on camera.

“Having the chance to witness all those amazing views from the cockpit, I thought that it would be very interesting to share those moments with the less fortunate,” says Nafatni, who is a pilot for the international airline, Air Arabia.

Nafatni’s eye-popping photos give viewers a rare glimpse into the cockpit since, as Nafatni mentions, passengers are forbidden from entering the flight deck nowadays and the views that they do catch are reduced ones provided by the “frustrating little windows next to them.”

Although Nafatni has been a pilot for the past 13 years, he didn’t start taking pictures from the skies until about a year ago. With a Nikon D300S camera in hand, Nafatni takes most of his panoramic photos from the cockpit of an Airbus A320. As for inspiration, he looks within.

“Most of the time I do let my emotions and feelings guide me and let the shot come to me rather then pushing for it to happen,” says Nafatni.

Nafatni’s emotions seem to be steering him right. His online portfolio has racked in over a million views so far and while most appreciate the photos, some question whether it’s safe for a pilot to take pictures while on duty.

Nafatni emphasizes that today, the use of computers in aircrafts reduces a great deal of a pilot’s workload (not to mention, human error), allowing pilots more time to be “mentally and physically busy with the primary flying tasks.”

“Beside that, there is always a pilot sitting at his station, no matter what, just to be able to recover if anything goes wrong,” Nafatni adds.

So without further ado, here are ten of Nafatni’s incredible photos that will give you a glimpse into the way Nafatni sees the world.

Read more:

Leaked draft of climate report struggles with drop in warming
  • IPCCAP4Report

    The cover of the IPCC’s fourth assessment report to the U.N., “Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report,” more frequently referred to as AR4. (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC))

An unreleased draft of the U.N.’s next major climate report reportedly states that scientists are more certain than ever that man’s actions are warming the planet — even as the report struggles to explain a slow-down in warming that climate skeptics have seized upon.

Global surface temperatures rose rapidly during the 70s, but have been relatively flat over the past decade and a half, according to data from the U.K.’s weather-watching Met Office. Climate skeptics have spent months debating the weather pattern, some citing it as evidence that global warming itself has decelerated or even stopped.

“The absence of any significant change in the global annual average temperature over the past 16 years has become one of the most discussed topics in climate science,” wrote David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in June. “It has certainly focused the debate about the relative importance of greenhouse gas forcing of the climate versus natural variability.”

A draft of the upcoming AR5 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is set for final release in Oct. 2014 and used by governments around the world, offers a variety of explanations for the mystery, Reuters reported, from ocean storage of heat to volcanoes.


‘Causes could include ash from volcanoes, a decline in heat from the sun, more heat being absorbed by the deep oceans …’

– A Reuters report


“Scientists believe causes could include: greater-than-expected quantities of ash from volcanoes, which dims sunlight; a decline in heat from the sun during a current 11-year solar cycle; more heat being absorbed by the deep oceans; or the possibility that the climate may be less sensitive than expected to a build-up of carbon dioxide,” explained Reuters environment correspondent Alister Doyle.

The draft expresses “medium confidence” that the slowing in global warming “due in roughly equal measure” to those factors, Reuters said.

“It might be down to minor contributions that all add up,” said Gabriele Hegerl, a professor at Edinburgh University told the news agency. Or maybe the latest decade is simply a statistical blip, an anomaly in a larger trend.

Climate bloggers were quick to dismiss all of the possible explanations for the slow down in heating up.

“All of these fatuous figures are pulled out of the air to support the IPCC ideologies and not based upon any statistical analysis or science,” said Marc Morano, a particularly outspoken climate skeptic who writes the popular blog Climate Depot.

The U.N. arm responsible for the report released a statement to on Monday stating that it was premature to draw conclusions from the leaked draft.

“The text is likely to change in response to comments from governments received in recent weeks and will also be considered by governments and scientists at a four-day approval session at the end of September,” the statement said. “It is therefore premature and could be misleading to attempt to draw conclusions from it.”

The report stresses that scientists are now 95 percent certain that man’s actions are responsible for global warming, and that action is key to avert a coming crises.

“The report is simply an exclamation mark on what we already knew: Climate change is real and it continues unabated, the primary cause is fossil fuel burning, and if we don’t do something to reduce carbon emissions we can expect far more dangerous and potentially irreversible impacts on us,” climate scientist Michael Mann wrote to Climate Progress.

The U.N. agency’s report is sure to face intense scrutiny. The 2007 iteration was widely lambasted over flaws and sloppy information, notably the claim that global warming would cause the Himalayas to melt by 2035.

Read more:

Mind-blowing colors found in nature


When images of China’s “rainbow mountains” went viral, we—like so many others—were entranced by the incredible colors of nature.

But then we noticed the disclaimer: “There could be some slight photo manipulation going on to make the colors pop.” After a little research, we realized this was definitely the case (compare the previous shots to these photos).

Still, we had been inspired and were determined to find the most jaw-dropping displays of color Mother Nature had to offer. After fishing around, we realized that not only is the natural world full of neon and jewel-toned hues, but also got a crash course in how these displays came to exist.

Of course, these incredible hues aren’t just for aesthetics. You might recall the classic case of color in the animal kingdom: the male peacock, whose beautiful feathers are used to attract females. Still, animals use myriad shades for many other reasons, too. While cuttlefish change color rapidly to avoid predators and orange oak leaf butterflies are permanently camouflaged to blend into their habitat, other animals such as the cinnabar moth caterpillar and poison arrow frog flaunt bright shades as a warning sign to other creatures.

Plant species also put their colors to work, using their unique pigments to attract pollinators. Some species—such as plants in the phlox family–even change their hues based on which animals are present during a given time. For instance, researchers from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff found that the scarlet gilia shifted its shade of red to attract moths in one season and hummingbirds in another.

In animals, plants or natural features, vibrant colors can come from a variety of sources—their diet, minerals, bacteria, cellular structure, or simply a genetic ability to create a unique (and sometimes changing) display of pigmentation.

But even if the real story behind these brilliant hues is biological (that’s right—Mother Nature doesn’t flaunt her colors just for humans to enjoy), we can still seek out incredible displays for the joy, wonder and reverence they inspire. Take a look through our slideshow to see some of the most amazing shows of color in the natural world.

  • 1Caño Cristales: Meta, Colombia

    Rachel Cifelli

    Known as “The River of Five Colors” or “The Liquid Rainbow,” this South American landmark in Serrania de la Macarena National Park shows its brilliant hues between the wet and dry seasons every year. At this time, a unique plant species on the river floor called Macarenia clavigera turns a brilliant red. Against the blue water and yellow and green sand, it’s an incredible sight to behold. Although the area was closed for many years due to guerilla activity, it reopened to tourists in 2009. Today, several Colombian tourism agencies will arrange guided tours to the remote area, complete with the flight to La Macarena.

  • 2Valley of Flowers National Park: Uttarakhand, India

    Bangalore Mountaineering Club

    Picture this: It’s early morning as you make your way through a Himalayan meadow where orchids, poppies, primulas, marigold, daisies and countless other wildflowers carpet the ground. In the distance, you hear the call of a Himalayan Mona Pheasant and, as you pause to soak in the scenery, you glance down and notice a pair of footprints in the loose dirt. A snow leopard walked this same path just hours earlier. Welcome to Valley of Flowers National Park, a location known for its rich diversity of endemic alpine flowers and as a home to numerous endangered plant and animal species.

  • 3Lake Hillier: Recherche Archipelago, Western Australia

    Wikimedia Commons

    While Lake Hillier appears bubble gum-colored from the air, the waters show a less dramatic pink hue when viewed from the shore. No one is sure where the color comes from, but scientists have several good guesses. As with other pink salt lakes in the region, the color could originate from the organisms Dunaliella salina and Halobacteria. Alternatively, its color could be due to halophilic bacteria that live in Hillier’s salt crusts. Either way, the lake is safe for swimming, so visitors can enjoy a dip in its unique waters.

  • 4Parrot Gathering: Tambopata, Peru

    Daniel Blanco/Surbound Expeditions

    Every day, scores of macaws, parrots, parakeets and other colorful bird species gather near Tambopata, Peru at dawn to feast on the area’s mineral-rich clay licks. Numerous companies offer tours to this incredible area.

  • 5The Marble Berry: Africa

    Silvia Vignolini et al via PNAS

    The marble berry (Pollia condensata) has the most intense and shiny color known in nature. Found in forested regions of Africa, the berry’s hue is caused by Bragg reflection from its unique cellular strucure, which can also cause the fruit to appear somewhat pixelated to the human eye. Although beautiful to look at, these berries contain no nutritional content.

  • 6Rainbow Eucalyptus: Throughout the Northern Hemisphere


    The colors of the Rainbow Eucalyptus appear as the brownish-grey outer bark peels away each year. The bright green inner bark then turns blue, purple, orange and maroon as it matures. These fast-growing trees are common on tree plantations around the world. In the Phillippines, the Rainbow Eucalyptus is the species most commonly grown for pulpwood.

  • 7Petrified Wood: Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

    T. Scott Williams/NPS

    This national park is known for its large deposits of petrified wood found over approximately 146 square miles. The colors of these fossils depend on the elements in the water or mud during the petrification process. For instance, the presence of manganese can create pink or orange hues, while cobalt will result in greens or blues.

    See all 13 colorful natural wonders at The Active Times

    More from The Active Times

    The National Parks: Ranked

    22 Awe-Inspiring National Park Photographs

    11 Best New Fitness Tech Gadgets

    The World’s Best Bike Rides

Hail storm wreaks havoc on Bordeaux region, will affect wine prices
  • vineyard_istockfafd.jpg

In just 10 minutes, five percent of the crop that would become 2013’s dry white Bordeaux was destroyed in a hail storm that ravaged the famous wine-producing region last Friday.

Due to the storm, which only lasted from 8:40 p.m. to 8:50 p.m. last Friday, the 2013 dry white Bordeaux from Entre-deux-Mers is set to become a rare commodity, which will greatly affect the pricing of the 2013 vintage.

“The storm was a damaging and dramatic event that could not have come at a worse time,” Christophe Château, spokesman for the French interest group Le Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) told news channel France 24.

According to the CIVB, which represents nearly 10,000 Bordeaux wine producers and growers, the storm caused damage to around 50,000 acres of vineyards in the region. Such a devastating blow will have dramatic economic repercussions.

Stéphane Defraine, president of the Entre-deux-Mers Winegrowers Union, told The Drink Business that the storm has cost local growers and estimated $26 million (£17 million).

The storm was so powerful that it destroyed 5 percent of Bordeaux’s total vineyard area and impacted 10 percent of the region as a whole.

What does that mean for consumers? Be prepared to shell out a lot of cash for the precious few bottles of dry white Bordeaux made from the few hearty grapes that survived that storm.

Read more:

Yellowstone’s Steamboat geyser sees rare eruption

Associated Press
  • geiser.jpg

    July 31, 2013: Steamboat Geyser, in Yellowstone National Park’s Norris Geyser Basin in Wyoming, erupts on Wednesday. (AP)

BILLINGS, Mont. –  Old Faithful it’s not.

Yellowstone National Park’s Steamboat Geyser — the world’s tallest — has erupted for the first time in more than eight years.

The nine-minute blast sent steaming hot water an estimated 200 to 300 feet in the air, park geologist Hank Heasler said Thursday.

Unlike the park’s popular and famous Old Faithful geyser, which spews water like clockwork every hour-and-a-half, no one knows when Steamboat will erupt next.

In the past, it’s gone as long as 50 years without a major event. In 1964, it erupted a record 29 times. The last blast came in 2005.

Steamboat is one of more than 500 geysers at Yellowstone, which boasts the largest collection of hydrothermal features in the world.

The geyser is in a popular viewing area known as the Norris Geyser Basin, and its eruption at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday drew dozens of excited onlookers, said Robb Long, a freelance photographer from Sioux Falls, S.D., who was visiting the park with his fiance and her family.

“It was an amazing experience. This thing sounded like a locomotive,” Long said. “Everybody was frantic, taking pictures. People were running down there trying to get to it before it went away, and park rangers were running around trying to gather up people so they didn’t get too close.”

Yellowstone’s geysers are fueled by cold water that feeds into a natural underground plumbing network, where heat from the park’s volcano forces chemical-laden water to the surface and causes the periodic eruptions, Heasler said.

Early accounts of Steamboats eruptions came from first-hand observations, with the first recorded in 1878. Since 2005, the park has used electronic monitors to more closely track the geyser.

Read more:

Santa not swimming: No lake at North Pole, scientist says
  • North Pole camera.jpg

    July 22, 2013: A picture of a buoy anchored near a remote webcam at the North Pole shows a meltwater lake surrounding the camera. (North Pole Environmental Observatory)

Santa’s workshop is safe.

Amid all the frenzy caused by photos that appear to show a lake where one would expect to find the polar ice cap, scientists are just now starting to explain what exactly the images are portraying.

The good news: Santa and his elves don’t need snorkels. Scientists at the UW Applied Physics Laboratory say that such accumulation of melted water is normal.

“Every summer when the sun melts the surface, the water has to go someplace, so it accumulates in these ponds,” said Jamie Morison, a polar scientist and principal investigator since 2000 with the North Pole Environmental Observatory. “This doesn’t look particularly extreme.”

RELATED: Earth’s Gold Forged in Stellar Collisions


‘This doesn’t look particularly extreme.’

– Jamie Morison, a polar scientist with the North Pole Environmental Observatory


There are numerous problems with interpreting the image itself, he said, chief among them the camera that had taken the photo itself, which uses a fisheye lens that resulted in slight distortion. What looks like mountains are actually ridges where the ice was pushed together, according to the head of the laboratory, Axel Schweiger.

The pool eventually drained late July 27, which is the normal life cycle for a meltwater pond. Forming from snow and ice, the pond eventually drains through cracks in the ice.

As for the true size of the melt pond, researchers estimate that it was actually just 2 feet deep and a few hundred feet wide – average for an Arctic ice floe in late July.

Buoys placed in the Arctic record weather, ice, and ocean data, while webcams transmit images via satellite every 6 hours. Throughout the summer melt seasons, images help track the surface conditions. Since 2000, the U.S. National Science Foundation has been funding an observatory that makes annual observations at fixed locations and installs 10 to 15 drifting buoys.

The buoy that first recorded the largely misinterpreted data had been placed approximately 25 feet from the North Pole in April, the beginning of the melt season. A second hole was drilled for a webcam placed in another direction, and shows a more typical scene. The ice floe holding both cameras have drifted over 300 miles south.

PHOTOS: Ancient Mayan Cave Explorations

This summer will come close to, but not pass, a 2012 record for minimal ice, according to Morison. But he is having his doubts. Based on the recent photos, as well as his own experience, he says that Arctic ice is fragile.

“I think it’s going to be pretty close to last year,” Morison said. “Up in the Canada basin the ice looks like Swiss cheese, with lots of holes. Even though the ice extent is pretty good, our thinking is that if there’s a big storm event we’re going to see a rapid breakup of that ice and it’s going to disappear pretty quickly.”

Read more:

Apocalyptic, fiery clouds gathering over Midwest captured in video
  • michsky.jpg

    Unusual Mammatus clouds form in the sky over Iron Mountain. (Jason Asselin/Youtube)

  • michsky2.jpg

    Jason Asselin captured Mammatus clouds on video hovering over Michigan. (Jason Asselin/Youtube)

Eerie round, orange clouds were spotted over a Michigan town, making the sky appear “on fire” and leading residents to worry that wild weather was coming.

The bizarre sight formed in the skies over the Michigan town of Iron Mountain at around 8:30 p.m. local time, and led to worries that severe thunderstorms or tornadoes were approaching.

National Weather Service Warning Coordination meteorologist Jeff Last, who posted images of the curved, tinted clouds to Twitter, said they were a rare phenomenon called Mammatus, which means “breast cloud.”

Mammatus, or mammatocumulus, clouds are often associated with severe thunderstorms, said Iron Mountain Daily News reporter Chris Tomassucci.

“The pictures don’t really capture how eerie the whole experience was,” he wrote.

“The mammatocumulus that formed over Iron Mountain made everything take on strange coloration. Greens looked more green, blues more blue, and so on.”

Resident Jason Asselin captured the “incredible and crazy sky” on video, which he posted to YouTube.

“All of a sudden it got very yellow outside, it felt strange and mysterious,” he wrote. “Then it slowly looked very orange, it was the craziest thing I have ever witnessed over my head. I almost expected to see a tornado or something!”

“They are extremely rare in this part of the country and many people have never seen anything like it before,” Mr Asselin said.

The clouds were part of a cold front that spread across Wisconsin and Iowa, bringing hail, heavy rain and a tornado with them, the Times-Press reports.

Fears for more savage weather were unfounded, although police and fire fighters did have to rescue a group of people caught in a river when the strong winds struck.

“The people were on a sand bar, and their canoe blew away,” Sauk County Sheriff Chip Meister told the Times-Press.

Read more:

Why mosquitoes bite some more than others
  • bugspray_istock.jpg

Does it seem like you’re a mosquito magnet? A new report says some of us are bitten more than others for several different reasons.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, about 20 percent of us are more appealing than others to the insects. The reasons? They include:

1. Alcohol — just one bottle of beer can increase your appeal to the nasty bugs.

2. Pregnancy — as if pregnant women don’t have enough to worry about, they get bitten about twice as much as the rest of us. The body temperature of pregnant women is a degree warmer than everyone else, and they exhale 21 percent more carbon dioxide.

3. Bloody type — Type O blood types are bitten twice as much as Type A. Type B is somewhere in the middle.

4. Exercise — Working out builds up lactic acid in your sweat, making you a little more tasty.

Click for more reasons from My Fox Detroit. 

Read more:

How to take great photos of the night sky

The sun is setting and night is beginning to fall.  Many photographers are packing up their gear and heading home for the day, but Andy Austin, founder of Peak Photography of Montana, is just getting ready for the night ahead.

On a moonless night the sky comes alive with a celestial show of planets, stars and constellations. Using the right photography equipment, images taken at night can be as clear and detailed as any daytime shots, often revealing much more depth and mystery.

While the results are often awe-inspiring, Austin says night photography isn’t nearly as complicated as many think.

To capture the stars for yourself, here’s what you will need: a camera with a manual mode, a tripod, a remote shutter (to minimize camera shake) a location with minimal light pollution, and patience.

As for choosing a lens, Austin says it all depends on the look you are trying to accomplish.

“Personally, I prefer to shoot with a wide angle lens, but it is possible to take great photos with a telephoto as well.”

The best time to capture stars and the Milky Way is on a moonless night, but never underestimate what can also be taken while the moon is out. When photographing with the moon you will get a much better foreground, but fewer stars.

To capture the best Milky Way photos aim your camera towards Scorpio (if you’re not up on your astronomy, try an app like Google Sky Map as a guide).

The most photogenic parts of the Milky Way also rise and set, just like the moon. In the winter it doesn’t rise until early in the morning, making it much more difficult to photograph. In the summer it is usually visible in the Northern Hemisphere once the stars come out.

It never hurts to consult meteor shower calendars to find when you can see premium showers, and which direction to position your camera towards.

The next shower is July 29-30, 2013 and is the Delta Aquarids.

Here are some amazing images taken by Austin and how he did them.

  • 1Hyalite Canyon, Bozeman, Mont.

    Andy Austin

    In December 2012, the Geminid Meteor Shower lived up to its expectations and turned out to be one of the best showers of the year. With hundreds of meteors an hour, and a new moon whose light didn’t dim the views of the stars, it was a photographer’s dream.  This composite image of all the meteors photographed that night was taken in Hyalite Canyon, near Bozeman, Montana.

    Shot with a Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 16-35 F/2.8 settings for each shot were ISO 3200 f/2.8 30 seconds.

  • 2Hyalite Canyon, Bozeman, Mont.

    Andy Austin

    This autumn night sky is another image from Hyalite Canyon.  To achieve the star trails, the camera shot thirty-second exposures, continuously, for 30 minutes.  Once the time lapse was competed, the photos were stacked using star-stacking software to create one cohesive image.

    Shot with a Canon 60D and Tamron 10-24 f/3.5 and each shot was done at ISO 1600 F/3.5 for 30 seconds each.

  • 3Quake Lake, West Yellowstone, Mont.

    Andy Austin

    The Milky Way plays hide and seek in this June 2013 photo near West Yellowstone, Montana.  As one image from a night-long time-lapse, it shows the tent illuminated by Austin’s headlamp as he gets ready for bed (his feet are the dark spot at the bottom of the tent.)

    Shot with a Canon 6D and a Canon 24mm TS-E at ISO 3200 F/3.5 and 25 seconds

  • 4Arches National Park, Utah

    Andy Austin

    After a few disappointingly rainy nights in Moab, Austin finally caught a break.  He made the most of it by shooting this photo, as well as the next two featured images.  He used his headlamp to light Double Arch in Arches National Park during the photo’s exposure.

    Shot with a Canon 6D and a Canon 24mm TS-E at ISO 3200 F/3.5 and 30 seconds

  • 5Arches National Park, Utah

    Andy Austin

    After photographing Double Arch, Andy hiked to North Window.  His perfect (or perhaps lucky) timing caught the Milky Way just as it rose over the top of the rock formation.  Once again, he used his headlamp for illumination as it was a moonless night.

    Shot with a Canon 6D and a Canon 24mm TS-E at ISO 4000 F/3.5 and 30 seconds

  • 6Arches National Park, Utah

    Andy Austin

    Heading out of the area, Austin turned around for one last look.  He was greeted by the Milky Way, above the whole landscape, illuminating the geological features below.

    Shot with a Canon 6D and a Canon 24mm TS-E at ISO 3200 F/3.5 and 30 seconds

  • 7Near Bozeman, Mont.

    Andy Austin

    Hoping to capture Montana’s Grotto Falls in a unique manner, Austin attempted light painting with his headlamp.  Though the photographs turned out much different than anticipated, he nonetheless loved the results of the excursion.

    Shot with a Canon 6D and Canon 16-35 F/2.8 at 16mm ISO 3200 F/2.8 and 30 seconds

  • 8Hyalite Reservoir, Mont.

    Andy Austin

    In order to capture his silhouette, Austin had to remain perfectly still for the duration of the 15-second exposure.  This was taken in the Hyalite Reservoir, one of Austin’s favorite places for night photography because there is so little light pollution.

    Shot with a Canon 60D and a Tamron 10-24 f/3.5 at 10mm ISO 3200 f/3.5 and 15 seconds

  • 9Paradise Valley, Mont.

    Andy Austin

    Due to extreme drought conditions, 2012 was one of the worst fire seasons Montana has seen in several years.  This image captures the tail end of the Pine Creek Fire in Paradise Valley.  At one point, flames covered the entire mountain.

    Shot with a Canon 60D and a Tamron 10-24 f/3.5 at 11mm ISO 1600 f/3.5 and 30 seconds

  • 10Hyalite Canyon, Utah

    Andy Austin

    Austin achieved this photo by creating a composite of two separate shots of Palisade Falls.  The foreground with the waterfall was taken while the moon was still visible.  The background was shot once the moon disappeared behind a nearby mountain.

    Both images were taken with a Canon Rebel T2i and a Tamron 10-24 f/3.5 at 10mm ISO 1600 f/3.5 and 30 seconds