So the reason why I recommend going to the sunset and night tour with John at the Presidents Heads is for two reasons. 1: You can’t beat the sunset light. It’s the second-best time of day to shoot plus the blue hour is perfect at this location. 2: The night photography is ah-mazing and they don’t hold anything back.
In order to do it all, John had some help from Jimmy Powell to pull out all his different lighting tricks. You should have seen it. He had a whole wagon full of different color flashlights, pixel sticks, steel wool, EVERYTHING. It was awesome. When the sun started to fall and everyone was done taking their blue hour images, we all stood together in a group with our tripods. John and Jimmy made sure everyone had a good understanding of nighttime exposure, everything was working with everyone’s tripods and discussing how to focus our images to make sure the presidents’ heads appear sharp in our images.
This was my first time ever photographing steel wool and it was exciting. If I remember correctly, Jimmy had steel wool shoved inside a kitchen whisk which was then attached to a piece of string and just twirled it around. If you’ve seen images like this before, you know it can be dramatic and in my opinion a lot to look at.
Here’s an example of steel wool being spun from behind President Jackson’s head.
So when I just created a shorter exposure for steel wool, I really liked how it came out. It’s so simple and it almost looks like the picture is still loading. LOL.
My camera settings for the “loading” image is F5.0 at 4 seconds and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.
My camera settings for the wool spun behind President Jackson is F5 and 2 seconds and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.