A Photo Essay by Vanguard Professional Kristin Repsher
We are proud to introduce Vanguard Professional Kristin Repsher!
Kristin Repsher is an award-winning landscape and travel photographer. She can usually be found trying to capture a unique angle on a location, even if it means getting up at 3:30am for a sunrise or staying out late into the night (and getting eaten alive by mosquitos) to capture the Milky Way overhead. In between photo shoots, she can often be found hiking in the backcountry or throwing herself out of perfectly good airplanes. She usually lives to tell the tale on her blog, A Pair of Boots and a Backpack.
She put together a photo essay showcasing some of her favorite photos. Join us in getting to know Kristin Repsher...
The Glow of an Arctic Dawn at Noon
This is one of the scenes I imagined capturing before I got on the plane back to northern Norway in January. Little did I know that I’d capture it in such a vivid “cotton candy” colour! As the sun popped up over the ocean and the world began to turn pink, I rushed around, tripod in tow, trying to capture every angle possible while the light was still good…only to realise that the light would stay that way for the entire 2.5hrs that the sun was above the horizon. What a morning!
I shot this as a long exposure so I could smooth out the movement in the water crashing on the rocks below. I didn’t use any filters because my neutral density filters have a green tint and I didn’t want to do anything to dull the pink tones. Instead, I cranked up the aperture to f/22 so I could shoot at 1.3s.
A Peek of Emerald Lake
Sometimes the best photos seem to appear when you’re not looking for them, which is why it’s said that “the best camera is the one that’s with you!" Luckily I had my dSLR with me as I waited for a shuttle bus from Emerald Lake Lodge in the Canadian Rockies. Since I had about five minutes to kill, I wandered along the road around the lodge and found this little hole in the trees. It was one of my favourite views in the entire Rockies!
Milky Way Moonset
Usually, with nightscapes, you can either capture the Milky Way or the moon but not both. That’s because the light from the moon usually makes the sky too bright to see the stars properly. On this night at a lake near Brisbane, the moon was a tiny sliver — only a few days off new moon. That meant I was able to capture both the Milky Way and the moon in the same shot, which I thought was pretty special.
For this shot, I used the typical settings for a Milky Way shot: 30s, f/4, and ISO3200 with a 16mm wide angle lens.
A Not Too Foggy Night
I always prefer shooting in cities at night rather than during the day, because as soon as the sun goes down, a city really comes to life. I’ve also got a bit of a fascination with bridges, so it’s no surprise that I ended up on the Embarcadero near midnight capturing the Bay Bridge during a trip to San Francisco.
While the fog had been a menace and blocked our view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Hawk’s Hill earlier in the night, I thought it worked perfectly here — there was just enough to add a little bit of atmosphere to the shot. Also, I made sure to keep my aperture narrow (f/18) to ensure that the lights on the bridge took on the starry effect.
Moraine in Monochrome
When travelling, it’s not always possible to get to a place when you know it will have the best light. Moraine Lake was a perfect example of that for me. Because my driver’s license had been stolen earlier in my trip, I wasn’t allowed to drive my family’s rental car, and I felt a bit guilty asking them to get up for sunrise on their holiday just so they could watch me take photos.
Instead, we ended up at Moraine Lake around midday, the absolute worst time for light. At other times of day, the colours in this scene would have really popped, but when I shot it, I immediately knew I wanted it to be in black & white.
Would you believe this was a 5pm after-work stroll? When I visited Skellefteå, Sweden, on a business trip in January 2012, I went to work in darkness and came home in darkness. Luckily night is my favourite time to shoot, so when my colleagues suggested walking to Bonnstan, the wooden church village on the other side of town, I jumped at the chance. Considering I had a very sore leg that later was diagnosed as a broken bone, I possibly shouldn’t have walked there. I reckon this shot was worth it though.
Unlike most of my night photos in cities, I made sure to keep the aperture wide (f/4) in this shot so the white lights would look like glowing orbs rather than stars. Because the people in the distance were far enough away, I could lengthen the shutter speed to 2s without them going too blurry as well.
The Hills Are Alive with the Colours of Lupins
I’d never made it to New Zealand during lupin season, so when I finally got there in time for the last of the flowers, I went a bit nuts. I think I may have taken photos of most of the lupins around Lake Tekapo, but this was definitely my favourite scene. Captured on Mount John near the observatory, this shot features all of my favourite things about the region: lupins, otherworldly blue water, and the Southern Alps.
The God of the Sky
One of the reasons I went to Lapland for 28 days in 2013 was to give myself a good chance of seeing the aurora. I ended up seeing it not once, but ten times, meaning I am in the lucky position of having too many favourite aurora shots to choose just one! The main reason I like this one is because of the formation of the lights in the sky. I certainly didn’t see it at the time, but now whenever I look at this shot, I can see a man in a hood and with one arm stretching upwards flying across the sky.
I cranked the ISO up on this shot to 800; when shooting nightscapes, I usually try to keep it down around 200 to stop noise, but in this case I wanted to have a shorter shutter speed to ensure the aurora had definition rather than just being a green blur across the sky.
The Queen of the Rainforest
There’s not many better places for waterfalls than Queensland after some heavy rain, and we’ve had plenty of that this year. This waterfall, Chalahn Falls, is located in one of my favourite spots in the region: O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. Our walk out there was quite the eventful one, and I nearly had to be carried out after I slipped off some damp rocks and ended up hanging by my boot, which had caught in a crevasse, with my head precariously close to a very large and pointed rock. Luckily my tripod had much better balance than me so my camera didn’t fall down on top of me!
I usually use either my ND16 or my ND400 filter to shoot waterfalls, but in this case, the forest surrounding the falls was so dark that all I needed was a polariser; that meant I could still shoot around 1.3s rather than 25s like I needed with my ND400!
Riverfire is one of the biggest events in Brisbane each year. It’s the big finale to the Brisbane Festival, a three-week event where we celebrate…well, being in Brisbane. Think of it as our answer to Sydney’s New Year’s celebrations. This spot, Wilson’s Outlook, is one of my favourite places to see the fireworks, since they are so close that you can almost feel the heat from them. This was the fourth time I camped out from 7am so I could get the best spot in the house for photos (and the fireworks don’t start until 7pm)!
This photo is actually a blend of images. I made sure to not move my tripod at all between the first shot — where I captured the deep blue sky of dusk 30 mins before the show — and the second shot, where I captured the trademark waterfall of fireworks off the bridge. That way I could easily blend them together in Photoshop.