Kaylee Johnson » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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May 292016

“Light in the Night Sky” || Photo copyright Kaylee Johnson

While I was home one weekend from NAU, my parents suggested going to the Desert Botanical Gardens down in Phoenix. At nighttime, the gardens host a special event called “Sonoran Light” by Bruce Munro. Munro’s art reflects across the desert with a mixture of acrylic, light, and other items that bring the desert to life at night. The careful placement and themes of each piece reflect well with the night feel of the desert. When I found out that I was going to this event, I wanted to take a picture that was unlike all the ones I’ve originally seen. As I was walking around, I basically took pictures of everything I saw from every angle. However, when I approached a mountain draped in beautiful color changing lights, I knew it had potential.

I began taking pictures of the mountain; it was completely covered in lights as seen in my photo. These lights changed colors every few seconds. However, what I captured didn’t interest me as much as the lights on the ground and the background of the city of Phoenix. The bright city lights and the night sky were much more captivating than just the mountain itself. When I saw this scene I immediately knew this was my chance to get a unique picture. However, I didn’t bring a tripod with me to fully capture the brilliance of the lights and the night sky at the proper exposure. I noticed a drinking fountain and decided that that was my best bet. I set my camera on top of the flat part leading to the fountain and simply clicked the shutter.

One shot was all it took. Without the stable use of the water fountain the picture would’ve been underexposed and completely blurry. I captured this image at an ISO of 800, an aperture of 3.5, and a shutter speed of 1 second using a Canon T5 with an 18-200mm lens. I edited this image to make the colors pop more and look more vibrant.

All in all, I want to communicate to other photographers that even when you think a shot is impossible to capture, think outside the box and try something new, you never know what you may end up with. I also really encourage going to the Sonoran Lights at Desert Botanical Garden because the lights are really stunning to look at it and for picture taking as well.

About The Photographer:

My name is Kaylee Johnson and I’m majoring in photography at NAU. I have been taking pictures for seven years now and I absolutely love photography. In high school, I was in yearbook and photographed sports for three years, and then became the editor and chief and took pictures around the school. Here at NAU I work for NAU Athletics and take pictures at sports games and other events going on around campus. My photography ranges from everything to portraits, landscape, sports, and anything else you can think of. I can’t wait to see what my future in photography holds.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at youcansleepwhenyouredead.com/wordpress/4th-annual-northern-arizona-university-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-projectPlease take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Kaylee would love to hear from you!