Based in the Pacific Northwest, photographer Jay Shah is passionate about night photography. Not only that, he's also fond of working with single exposures, which means that his images require precise timing. And he certainly got his timing right in mid-July, when he was able to capture “sea sparkles” off the southern coast of Oregon.
Shah had heard that bioluminescence occurred in the area during the months of June and July, so he picked a weekend with clear weather and headed out to see what he could find. The phenomenon occurs when living organisms in the water produce light due to chemical reactions in their bodies and is short-lived, so Shah needed to act quickly to catch the moment on camera.
Positioning himself at Arch Rock, he gave himself two evenings to photograph the event. The two resulting images show how changes in the weather can dramatically alter the mood of the image. The first night was clear, allowing Shah to capture star trails during the 15-minute exposure.
On the second night, the intense marine layer created a moody atmosphere. In fact, visibility dropped just five minutes after Shah finished his 8.5-minute exposure. Luckily, by timing things correctly, Shah was able to walk away both evenings with memorable images.
Understanding that Shah's work is the result of great photography on the ground makes the images even more impressive. “I find single exposures incredibly rewarding as you really have to push the dynamic range of the equipment to its limit to get good foregrounds and night skies while managing noise,” he shares with My Modern Met. “I find this challenge very motivating, and when I get it right, incredibly rewarding.”
He hopes that others will see his work and see his passion for night photography. For anyone who wants to try it themselves, he suggests arming yourself with a lot of patience and seeking out mentors who can help you hone your skills. To see more of Shah's night photography, follow his Instagram.