My Public Lands

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    Garnet Ghost Town, Montana — Bob Wick

    About the image: The third light control setting “ISO” is a standard measure of the sensitivity of the camera sensor. Each time the ISO doubles, so does the light sensitivity (meaning it takes less light to achieve the same exposure). Normally you want to use as low of ISO as possible as there is a cost associated with higher ISO – graininess and more digital noise in your image. However, new cameras are amazingly sharp without much digital noise, even up to 3200 or higher ISO. This opens up opportunities for low light and night photography that no one would have tried without really specialized equipment even a few years ago. Here the Milky Way is visible above an old storefront. I used an incandescent flashlight to “lightpaint” the building for the 13 seconds the shutter remained open. Tip: Free online software such as Stellarium and smartphone apps can help you locate the Milky Way. Two factors are important for Milky Way photos: 1) a dark sky area away from city lights, and 2 ) no moon.

    About the Area: This particular structure is located in Garnet Ghost Toen in western Montana. Abandoned homesteads and “ghost towns” can be found in many parts of the west. Some are under private ownership so be sure to check with the local BLM, Forest Service or other local agency office about public accessibility.

    Camera settings: lens focal length: 16 mm , shutter speed: 13 sec, aperture: f 2.8; ISO 3200

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