All Systems Go
When Brad McGinley and I set out to shoot Chimney Rock at night, this was not exactly what we envisioned. However, being adaptive is what being a landscape shooter is all about. The nearby town of Bayard decided a few years ago that lighting up the landmark would be a good thing, so they did just that. On one hand it resolved the problem of how we were going to light up the rock, but it also created the problem of how to blend it into the remaining landscape. We decided to use the log shack ruin as a foreground feature as it and the corn field were easy to light up. This left the remaining hillside leading up to the rock which we did our best to shed some light on. There was a 60% moon on this night, but the cloud cover prevented it from contributing. In fact, this was one of the few compositions we got before the clouds pushed us to the end of our evening.
To shoot this, I setup my camera on the EXIF settings you see and locked the camera into continuous shooting mode. Then I walked around with my flashlight and played around, trying different angles and beams. I tried to make sure not to create any hot spots in any single shot and made sure that I light up all areas at least twice. The Rock itself used a different approach as it was not clear while shooting how the "blowout" bright object would blend in. I took about 15 shots of it continually varying the exposure until I knew I covered the range I would need.
When I got back to the computer I added each shot as a separate layer using the Lighting blend mode in Photoshop and then masked out the portions of each layer until I got the results I wanted.