Night photography of the milky way galaxy, moon, and lava tube draining water.

Night Photography – Stargate

DustinWong Travel

Night Photography in Paradise

For this image I woke up before my alarm and decided to go early to see if I could do some night photography and get some stars in the shot. My plan was to hike along a rocky cliff, where I knew pretty huge waves were happening, and photograph this lava tube at sunrise. I had actually waited a day to avoid the REALLY huge waves that could wash up along the path. I had scouted the area using google maps and felt pretty confident I knew where I was going, but the risks here of getting swept off the rocks by a large wave are real and should not be taken lightly.

To my good fortune, the sky was totally clear. When I arrived at the well, I had a chuckle to myself; the alignment of the moon and the milky way were better than I could have ever imagined. Sometimes I plan out my night shots, and sometimes it’s serendipity.

Night photography of the milky way galaxy, moon, and lava tube draining water.


I took this image at the beginning of 2016, but didn’t get around to finishing it until a couple days ago (end of December). Creative work is sometimes a non-linear and chaotic process–my experience with this one was just that. After starting to process it early in the year I got stuck and didn’t quite know how to proceed, so I shelved it.

It is a multiple image stitch that involves a time difference of just over an hour (otherwise there isn’t enough light on the water to get the exposure duration short enough). I had to move my camera due to the danger of getting sprayed by a huge wave, so the files didn’t perfectly line up.

What a difference a year makes

With regards to post processing, I feel this is a personal culminating experience for 2016. When I look at where I started the year, (not knowing how to put it all together) and where I have come to, I feel grateful. There was gradual progress, almost difficult to notice, but continuing to practice and learn allowed me to refine my techniques. I do feel there is more to improve upon, as my aspirations for the quality of my personal work are still currently higher, so I’m eager to continue the process into 2017.

As always thank you for viewing and supporting my work. If you feel compelled to share this image I would be honored.
~With Aloha

PS. I also released a new free e-book: “10 Tips for Developing Your Photographic Artistry”