Category Archives: stars

Sunset Milky Way

I found this image unprocessed from the Astrophotography Jamboree a couple of years ago. This was taken from Summit Lake near Mt. Evans as the sun has set below the horizon.  The light from the sunset was still highlighting the evening clouds below the mountain and above Denver. It created a unique silhouette the hillside, while making the clouds golden and being so high in elevation you could see the milky way illuminated in the sky overhead. It was such a unique combination of lighting situations. I was just lucky enough to capture it.

Sunset Milky Way

Capture Notes:

Also posted in astrophotography, Canon 5D Mk III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, clouds, Milky Way, Mt. Evans, sunset Tagged , , , |

Double Arch

The NxNW Crew had such a good time light painting Delicate Arch we decided to head to a new location. After navigating down the path from Delicate Arch with headlamps we ventured over to Double Arch, which is in the Windows area of Arches National Park. We interrupted a couple doing some time-lapse work and so we waited patiently for them to finish and hoped that we could light paint Double Arch before the Full Moon rose that evening.

I was finally able to test out the Brinkmann Dual Xenon Spotlight. Let me just say this thing has some intense power and was more than enough to light Double Arch. I had actually tested it a few times at Delicate Arch and was able to light the arch with a single beam from 50-75 yards away. I’m sure that with both beams active the light is really intense. It’s a fantastic light for light painting and it’s also rechargeable so you don’t have to constantly feed it batteries. It come’s with a car charger so when you are in remote locations you can just plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter and don’t have to look for a plug.

With some experimenting and advice from Dave Wilson we realized that hitting an object straight on from the camera’s perspective gave the Arch a flat look. Chris Nitz was kind enough to take over the reigns and did the light painting honors from the left side of the arch. He climbed up into a clearing and painted the arch while we triggered our cameras. Lighting an object from the side allows the object to still show its texture and shape and give’s it a much more natural look.

Double Arch by Rick Louie Photography

Double Arch – Click to Enlarge/Purchase

Brinkmann Dual Xenon Spotlight by Rick Louie Photography

Brinkmann Dual Xenon Spotlight

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Arches National Park, Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, Double Arch, Light Painting, long exposure, Moab, Utah Tagged , , , , , , , |

Shooting Stars

Glen Canyon Dam is a hydro electric dam near Page, Arizona.  The dam regulates flow from the Colorado River basin and its reservoir is Lake Powell, which is the second largest artificial lake in the country. The stars were bright at night while we were there so with Ryan Wright and I ventured just outside of Wahweap Bay and did some long exposures. The lights from the electric facility was bright along the horizon and made this image appear as if it were cannon shooting stars into the sky.

I processed this image using David Kingham Night Photography Lightroom Presets.  These are great tools to use for processing astrophotography!  Be sure to give him a donation for his efforts in creating these presets.

Shooting Stars - Glen Canyon Dam at Night

Shooting Stars – Click to Enlarge/Purchase

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Arizona, astrophotography, Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, Colorado River, Glen Canyon, Lake Powell Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2012 Favorite Landscapes

It is always fun to look back over the year and realize all the places my camera has taken me and the memories of those journeys.  Today I’m sharing with you my top 10 landscape images for 2012.  They may not be the most popular, but for me took me places in my photographic journey that satisfied my soul to produce. This first image came from my first storm chasing journey. I captured this image on the eastern plains of Colorado about 45 minutes east of Denver near a town called Byers. I was trailing a storm heading east toward Kansas and noticed these incredible and eery looking Mammatus Clouds offset by the golden farm fields and the blacktop of Highway 36. I think everyone had headed inside to take cover from the tornado as I was able to setup my tripod in the middle of the highway to capture this image in the quiet stillness after this storm passed overhead.

Mammatus Clouds

Mammatus Clouds

Morning reflection was captured at Lake Isabelle in the Indian Peaks Wilderness/Brainard Lake Recreation Area. It was at this spot that I realized how powerful a tilt-shit lens was and the amazing detail I was able to produce not only in the foreground but also in the distance using a small aperture. It’s definitely on my bucket list of lenses to purchase in the future. It’s a good thing that rental companies carry this type of lens so I can satisfy my fix until I have enough coin to purchase one on my own.

Morning Reflection

Morning Reflection

One of my favorite trips this year was down to the southwest Colorado for the fall colors. Night photography and long exposures was my first passion with a camera and what trip would be complete without some long exposure work. Ryan Wright, Chase Shipley and I went out to Ohio Pass and captured the golden aspens against the starry night sky. I was really excited with this image as we shot some long exposures while Chase drove his Escape on the dirt road below illuminated the golden color of these aspens. I have to thank Ryan for this great light painting idea!

Aspens Aglow

Aspens Aglow

During the same fall tour I did some scouting on my own and ventured down the Cimarron Road from Gunnison to Ridgway, Colorado. Sometimes just being out on your own and allowing me to take in all the wonderful fall scenery and explore back country roads. I found this scene down a dirt road which wasn’t posted and came upon this small pond with a growth of aspens surrounding it. Normally the mid day sun takes its tolls on images, but this day was slightly overcast and with a polarizer cutting the glare from the pond it made for a perfect fall reflection of aspen trees.

Fall Reflection

Fall Reflection

Ryan Wright and I have developed a nice partnership this year and finally broke ground in starting Colorado Photo Tours.  I’m looking forward to the partnership with Ryan and being able to share the many wonderful locations in Colorado with other photographers. Hopefully we will see some of you in our tours this coming year.

Colorado Photo Tours -

Colorado Photo Tours:

I have been searching for the perfect stand of aspens during the fall and never seemed to find the right mix until this year. I think I always thought you had to stand right in front of the perfect set of aspens, but I’ve learned more and more that my 70-200 telephoto lens is a great landscape tool.  I found this perfect mix along Owl Creek Pass and use the compression of the long lens to give this scene the look I was hoping for with a shallow depth of field.

Aspen Stand

Aspen Stand

I have found that December is a great time to visit the American Desert Southwest. Sunrises are later in the morning and sunsets happen earlier in the evening! The best thing about visiting this area is the tourist population is very low if not non-existant in my locations. Down near Page, Arizona in the Glen Canyon Recreation Area you will find Horseshoe Bend. It’s a highly visited landmark and even during this winter sunset, there was quite the crowd at the site. The one thing I’ve learned to love and use this year is large 4X6 filters. I highly recommend Singh-Ray Filters for their clarity and you won’t find color casts that you will in other less expensive filters. They are expensive, but worth the money.

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend

Here is another landmark from my trip to the Desert Southwest and another crook in the river at Dead Horse Point outside of Moab, Utah. The sunrise shoot looking out over Canyonlands National Park created for some unique details. One of the things I’ve discovered while shooting landscapes in the desert southwest is there is an intricate amount of detail and textures and to properly create the visually appealing image the use of luminosity masks allow certain details to be exposed and transform the image. The image above and below I used luminosity masks to bring out some of the finer details of the image making an ordinary scene more vibrant. I still have a lot to learn and one of the things on my list this year is some more training in Photoshop to expand my post processing abilities.

Dead Horse Point

Dead Horse Point


What trip would be complete without some astrophotography at Arches National Park? This was the first time I have ever done any stacking. It’s not really hard, just got to get out a remote timer and let it run. The only issue was I didn’t have my timer so I sat there with my wireless remote and triggered 40+ images! It all worked out.  Luckily the night was void of wind.

Over Arching Star Trails

Over Arching Star Trails

I’m adding a couple of images that haven’t made it to my blog yet this year. One of my favorite images this year didn’t come from my Canon 5D Mark II, it came from my iPhone. I upgraded to the iPhone 5 this year and find that 8mp can create some amazing images. Snapseed has been my favorite post processing tool in the iPhone and as you can see below it’s made for some amazing results. I actually have a Android based Samsung Galaxy SIII with an 8mp camera. I’ve compared the two and find that the image coming from the iPhone have much better image quality. This image below is of Monument Valley. I’m not sure if it was the hype of the place, but I just found it to be a pure tourist trap.  Yes you see some amazing images from this area, but was just turned off right from having to pay the $10/per person entrance fee.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Finally a new one from Upper Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona. I’ve always wanted to visit the slot canyons. It is during the summer months that you can that wonderful beam of sunlight in the canyons that you see in many images, but I found that even during the winter months there are many wonderful colors and images still to be had in the canyons. I’ll just say right now that it is worth it if you are a photographer to pay the extra money for a longer photographic tour of the canyon. The extra time really gives you a chance to take your time and capture the scenes properly instead of being rushed through with a normal tour. Here’s my first image from the Upper Antelope Canyon. I’ll publish a few more next year. I look forward to following up on some leads to some other canyons in the area for future trips.

Sands of Time - Upper Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona

Sands of Time

There is a Best of 2012 Landscapes gallery in my online store and don’t forget there is a 30% sale going on right now.

Year End Print Sale

Year End Print Sale – 30% Off:

Thanks for all the support this year.  I couldn’t have done it with out you. I look forward to sharing my journeys with you next year.

Also posted in Arches National Park, aspens, astrophotography, butte, Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM, Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM, Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5, Canyonlands, Colorado, Colorado River, desert, Double Arch, eastern plains, fall, Lake Isabelle, landscape, long exposure, luminosity mask, Moab, Monument Valley, Ohio Pass, reflection, Snapseed, southwest, sunrise, sunset, trees, Utah Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Over Arching Stars

I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect night of stars out at Double Arch.  It was a cloudless night with a small moon and plenty of stars overhead as an accent to the arches.  I zoomed in on the large arch at Double Arch and then did a series of 43 – 30 second exposures for the purpose of stacking them to show the star trails overhead. As you can tell from the image I even caught a few shooting star, plane and satellite streaking across the night sky during the exposures.

Star Trails over the large arch at Double Arche in Arches National Park, Utah.

Star Trails over Double Arch – Click to Enlarge

Also posted in Arches National Park, astrophotography, Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, Double Arch, landscape, long exposure, Star Trails, Utah Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Stars over Double Arch

I had a great short trip out to the desert southwest with Ryan Wright and am really excited about some of the images. The only issue is trying to find the time to process them. We spent a couple of days in Moab at the beginning and end of the trip and mixed it in with a trip down to Page, Arizona. The weather was really cooperative and gave us some dramatic skies and mild temperatures. It wasn’t until we got back into Colorado did we hit snow. I was hoping for a little snow, but I may have to find that on my next trip out to the desert.

The last evening in Moab we were greeted with clear skys and a waning crescent moon so it made for excellent star gazing and astrophotography. It was a chilly 21 degrees when we drove out to Arches National Park, but when we got to our spot underneath the Double Arch there was no wind and actually made for a pleasant evening among the stars. We used some flashlights to light paint the arches and to give the landmark some detail in the night sky.

Stars over Double Arch - Arches National Park

Stars over Double Arch – Click to Enlarge

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Arches National Park, Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, Double Arch, landscape, luminosity mask, Moab, Photoshop, Utah Tagged , , , , , , , |

Ohio Pass Illuminated

One of my favorite things to do is to take long exposures. It’s especially fun to do some light painting at night and to also capture the stars. This image was taken at Ohio Pass this fall. Ryan Wright and I were capturing the stars in the sky above the aspens and then had our friend Casey drive his Ford Escape down the pass toward illuminating the Aspens giving the trees some more color and life.  Here is Ohio Pass Illuminated.

If you would like to see this area next fall and learn more about astrophotography and light painting, be sure to sign up for our Fall Photo Tour at Colorado Photo Tours website. The banner link to the right will take you to the site >>>>.

I also want to thank you my followers for encouraging me and staying with me this past year.  Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday weekend!  Enjoy your friends and family and we can’t wait to see you back here after the holiday.

Ohio Pass Illuminated - Aspens at Ohio Pass illuminated with the light from a passing vehicle.

Click to Enlarge

Capture Notes:

Also posted in aspens, Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, Colorado, fall, landscape, long exposure, nature, Ohio Pass, trees Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Milky Way over Paradise Divide

I thought I would share another image from Paradise Divide.  This one is overlooking the valley below the divide.  The Milky Way was very prevalent that evening. I never get tired of seeing the Milky Way and cherish the sight anytime I can get far enough away from the city to view it.

Also posted in Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, Colorado, landscape, Milky Way, Paradise Divide Tagged , , , , , |

An Evening in Butler Gulch

Some of you may remember my trek up to the top of Jones Pass last summer.  I thought I would share another image from down below in Butler Gulch.  This image was taken around 9pm that evening.  Justin Balog and I were capturing some long exposures and light trails of the vehicles still venturing up and down the Jones Pass Rd.  This image shows a truck’s light trails coming down from Jones Pass and a campsite in the valley below the top of the pass.  It was just one the wonderful Colorado evenings giving way to the light of the full moon.

An Evening in Butler Gulch - ©2012 Rick Louie Photography - All Rights Reserved.

Click to Enlarge - An Evening in Butler Gulch - ©2012 Rick Louie Photography - All Rights Reserved.

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Butler Gulch, Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM, clouds, Color Efex Pro 4, Colorado, Jones Pass, landscape, long exposure, nature, Nik Software, Viveza 2, wildflowers Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Moonlighting Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake is a glacially fed lake in Banff National Park, just outside of Lake Louise.  It is a spectacular lake during the day and you may remember it at sunrise from my Valley of the Ten Peaks image. This image was taken after the sun went down and it is also very beautiful.  The magic of a long exposure and the light from a full moon creates a spectacular scene from shoreline.  Do you call it Alpenglow at night?

Moonlighting Moraine Lake - ©2012 Rick Louie Photography - All Rights Reserved.

Click to Enlarge - Moonlighting Moraine Lake - ©2012 Rick Louie Photography - All Rights Reserved.

Don’t forget to enter my New Year’s Giveaway 2012 and your chance to win my Sunflower Sunset print!

Sunflower Sunset - ©2011 Rick Louie Photography - All Rights Reserved.

Click to Enlarge - Sunflower Sunset - ©2011 Rick Louie Photography - All Rights Reserved.

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Calgary, Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM, Color Efex Pro 4, full moon, lake, landscape, long exposure, Moraine Lake, nature, Nik Software, Valley of the Ten Peaks Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |