Last week while visiting Le Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, photographer Loïc Lagarde captured this awesome view of the tidal island at night with the Milky Way spanning the sky above, further highlighting the near fairy-tale nature of the historic landmark. The island has held strategic fortifications since the 8th century and is famous for the dramatic shift in surrounding tides that vary roughly 14 metres (46 ft) between high and low and high water marks. Despite being visited by nearly 3 million people annually the island has a population of just 44 permanent residents. Lagarde says the photo was made without multiple exposures or blending and is a ‘true’ representation of the moment. You can see more of his photos on Instagram.
The news of deadly wildfires ravaging California has been as awe-inspiring as it is terrifying. Great swaths of forests, mountains, fields, and entire neighborhoods can be incinerated in moments leaving nothing unscathed. For the last few years, Los Angeles-based photographer Stuart Palley has been shooting these fires as they rage across Southern California as part of a series he calls Terra Flamma.
More than just capturing flames or firefighters, Palley focuses instead on the entire landscape surrounding each event. By utilizing long exposure techniques he incorporates trails of sparks, the lights of firefighting aircraft, and even the stars above to create images that speak more to the strange beauty of wildfires than simple editorial documentation.
Though Palley often jumps at the opportunity to photograph a fire at a moment’s notice, he’s also well prepared. He takes a number of precautions including completion of the US Forestry Service’s “Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior” to better ensure his safety.
Photographer Stephen Orlando (previously) captures the nearly imperceptible movement one makes when quickly sliding a bow along strings, the senses typically drawn to the sounds rather than appearance of the instrument being played. By using carefully placed LED lights and a long exposure Orlando can track these movements through space, following arms and bows with light trails that extend out from the body and instrument. These bright ghostly marks are captured through his photographic technique and not altered with Photoshop, making their distinct patterns all the more spectacular.
The Ontario-based artist was inspired by the lighting painter Gjon Mili, who also experimented with violins in 1952. Orlando explains:
A relative motion between the performer and camera must exist for the light trails to move through the frame. I found it easier to move the camera instead of the performer. The LEDs are programmed to change color to convey a sense of time. The progression of time is from left to right in the viola and violin photos and from top to bottom in the cello photos. Each photo is a single exposure and the light trails have not been manipulated in post processing.
The twinkling lights dotting the ceiling of this dazzling cave system are the work of arachnocampa luminosa, a bioluminescent gnat larva (also called a glowworm) found throughout the island nation of New Zealand. It is believed that the light, emitted mostly from females, is how the insects find mates. These long-exposure photos by local photographer Joseph Michael capture small communities of worms amongst 30 million-year-old limestone formations on North Island. You can see more shots from the project titled Luminosity, here.
A Finnish photographer who goes by the name of Janne recently perfected a technique for shooting a “moon trail,” similar to long exposures you’ve probably seen of stars in the night sky. The photograph required over 37 minutes to shoot as the moon made its way slowly across the landscape. Michael Zhang from PetaPixel explains a bit of the technical details:
Janne was shooting with a Nikon D800 and 100-300mm lens at 300mm, f/8, and ISO 100. The trick behind the shot was a 10-stop neutral density filter, which greatly cut down the amount of light hitting the sensor and allowed Janne to shoot a 2258-second exposure.
Japanese photographer Takehito Miyatake is known for his accomplished long-exposure photographs of fireflies, volcanic eruptions, and beaches awash in bioluminescencnt firefly squid. His exposures, which he refers to as “the light of Japan,” can last anywhere between 15 seconds and 30 minutes and are rooted in an almost meditative approach to photography that he likens to a form of poetry in an interview with TIME. His time spent waiting for each exposure hasn’t been in vain, Miyatake recently won the Grand Prize at the 2014 Nikkei National Geographic Photo Awards. You can see more of his photography on his website and over on Spoon & Tamago.
In spring, firefly squid (hotaru ika) rise 2000 feet to the surface of the water and offer a fleeting glimpse of their magical lights