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Web Gallery of cut paper artist and night photographer Matt Hill. 


Blog - thoughts, travels, insights and meanderings

Blog of night, travel and fine art photographer + cut paper artist Matt Hill | Queens, NY. Join the fun!

Filtering by Category: Night Photography

Night Photography at Goblin Valley State Park in Utah

Matt Hill

I took the advice of friend and colleague Joe Brady to visit Goblin Valley State Park in Utah. Why? He said it's one of the darkest night sky areas around the Moab region. Indeed, it was.

(And thanks, Joe, for the fantastic suggestion!)

I arrived in late afternoon after driving from Salt Lake City to Moab for lunch, then to Canyonlands National Park for a first scouting of the area for future night photography workshops. What a breathtakingly beautiful park.

Here's a few stitched daytime panoramic photos of Canyonlands:

After madly driving from spot to spot in Canyonlands, I turned my car north and then west and then south again to get to the remote Goblin Valley State Park. I repeat - it's remote. 4 hours' drive from SLC if you do it in one shot.

I rented a yurt since Goblin Valley closes at 10pm and there are no towns nearby. I had a fantastic time; what a cool experience. Highly recommended. Fully functional with beds, couch that becomes a bed, gas-heated stove, heat pump, electricity, propane grill, picnic table and a place to build a fire. Great deal at $80/night.

Inside view of Yurt #2

The moon was not going to rise until after midnight, so I had plenty of time to get some Milky Way star point shots. I started out near the Goblins area (away form the campsites).

I am posting both color and black-and-white here for feedback. Please tell me which you like better in the comments! Much appreciated.

Personally, I am torn. I usually only do the B/W but somehow the delicacy of some of these color shots really tugs at me.

Honestly, I was a bit uncomfortable about how quiet and alone I was, especially in near-total darkness. I read the park materials and knew the largest predator was a coyote and I had nothing to really fear, but still I was wishing Gabe or Mabel or someone else was my buddy. It is very, very remote and dark.

I drove back to the yurt and discovered that my neighbors in Yurt #1 were building a campfire, and it made this amazing glow on the mountain walls adjacent to their yurt. Lucky me :-) And then I applied the same to my yurt, too, turning on and off my lights a little bit for a 37.5-minute image stack of 2 1/2 minute exposures. 

Since the nap I tried to have during magic hour was ruined by houseflies that would land on my face as soon as I drifted off, I was more tired than I hoped to be at that point in the night. So I took another micro-nap while this last set was burning and hoped to wake up for moonrise. I did.

Wow. It was a half-moon, but rose deep orange directly across the desert from my yurt. Amazing. I banged out some short and long exposures of it coming up into the light clouds that were forming:

So at this point the moon was high enough to start casting interesting shadows – the moment I was waiting for this entire trip.

My only regret is that I chickened out and did not go for bust going back to the Goblin fields to romp around in the moonlight with my Pixelstick and flashlights. Sigh... I was wiped out. Tired. And a little frightened that I didn't have a buddy with me (safety first!). Which is why I plan on holding a night photo workshop in Goblin Valley. Leave a note in the comments if you are interested! Or sign up for my mailing list.

Here are some shots of the Goblin fields during early morning hours to whet your appetite. Tons of room for photos to spread out and light paint without stepping on each others' toes.

Thanks for reading! Check me out on Twitter @MattHill and Facebook

Night Photography in the Utah Mountains or Bust

Matt Hill

File this one under: you never know what's going to happen, so put it all out there!

So I was going to Salt Lake City for work to attend a conference and I posted this little Instagram:

And I got a reply from a local photographer, Paul Carter (website, Instagram), asking if I wanted to go shoot some night photography. Um, yes! So we connected and decided on going out someplace with no light pollution because there was a report of the POSSIBILITY of Aurora Borealis visibility in our area and much of northern USA.

Paul graciously picked me up and drove us hours into the mountains east of SLC. Utah is truly a beautiful state, and I got to see even more of it guided by a local. And Paul is a also great guy. We chatted about photo tech, techniques, tools, life and other stuff. And then we got up to umpteen thousand feet in the air... (( <---hyperbole!)

I was shooting a side project for the launch of Vü Filters, making example photos with and without filters of many subjects during sunset in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

10-stop ND Filter - where have you been all my life???

After that was done down near Mirror Lake, we headed back up to Bald Mountain Pass - where we bumped into a crew from Adobe with a RED camera mounted in the back of a minivan chase car filming a crazy decked-out BMW. Can't wait to see where that goes...

The last moments of sun... (This is not the Adobe crew.)

And then the sun was gone. We descended a little bit to Lilly Lake / Lost Lake. Perfect. The moon would not rise for at least 2 hours, so we focused on making photos of the Milky Way.

And since I was rocking the Pixelstick, I made a portrait of Paul:

Well, we made three, but this is my favorite :-)

And finally - it was cold. I didn't mention that. It was high 30's up there. Brrr. So we did a couple of long exposures for stair trails. (Perfect weather for it!) My batteries kept dying.

ADVICE: Put a fresh battery in if you are starting a long exposure in very cold weather!

Thanks for reading! Check me out on Twitter @MattHill and Facebook

NIGHT PAPER COUPLES: Clara Coquette and Hard Cory

Matt Hill

A new american gothic, perhaps?

Ever since starting the NIGHT PAPER project, I had dreams of exploring how real-life couples would relate to being dressed in surreal paper fashions, nude, standing in somewhat public spaces and posing for long exposure portraits.

I desired to see how their already-established relationship would bolster, grow, expand, augment, etc. the relationship with the lens, myself and the connection to the space, time and intent of being together on film.

I must say, I am fortunate to kick this leg of the project off with Clara Coquette (featured in previous NIGHT PAPER shoots) and her beau, Hard Cory.

We had fun on Randall's Island in NYC, exploring the periphery, looking for water, sky and a little privacy. Huge thanks to both of you for being simply amazing. Wthout further ado, here is a gallery of images from the shoot.

Are you interested in volunteering? Read more here.

Thanks for reading! Check me out on Twitter @MattHill and Facebook

A little (sub)urbex with JC and Gabe

Matt Hill

Had some fun the other day with JC and Gabe.

Thanks for reading! Check me out on Twitter @MattHill and Facebook

Brooklyn Waterfront with Clara Coquette

Matt Hill

This Saturday evening past, we had the distinct pleasure of having Clara Coquette join again for another Night Paper shoot. This time we went to visit the East River Piano, a somewhat recent phenomenon, nearly buried in the sand under the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge.

I was alerted to the opportunity by Rich Scarpitta, who visited us while at the Astoria Flea a week or three ago (and many thanks!). Apparently, we have som mutual friends, including Rob Yasinac, who authored the enxeccelnt book, HUDSON VALLEY RUINS: Forgotten Landmarks of an American Landscape.

OK, without further ado, on to the photos! I nearly dragged out the recently-acquired Corona C-1 8x10 camera, but alas, this will appear during future NIGHT PAPER shoots. My trusty D700 + LOMO Petzval Lens and Nikon 14-24mm took the situation to task.

Thanks for reading! Check me out on Twitter @MattHill and Facebook