Earthly Eyes Aglow

October 01, 2015  •  16 Comments

This October 1st post is dedicated to Daniel Kirby Moynahan on the 16th anniversary of his transformation day.

Moynahan & Moran at Hole in the WallMoynahan & Moran at Hole in the Wall

David Moynahan and John Moran at Hole in the Wall Spring


Making surreal night time landscape photos - nightscapes really - is as fun as it is challenging. And the month of Halloween seems the perfect time of year to share one. John Moran and I have teamed up over the years on a number of nightscape-making adventures, most recently in August 2015. If you saw last month's post, the Springs of the Mill Pond, there were some photos of Hole in the Wall Spring that inspired us to return for this project.  

Hole in the Wall SpringHole in the Wall Spring

Hole in the Wall Spring and Caves

Hole in the Wall Spring from WithinHole in the Wall Spring from Within

Looking out from inside Hole in the Wall cavern

Here is a short video (3 min) I made that describes the creation of this photo, and shows some of the raw images and layering involved.  It is not technical and worth a watch. (If you have any trouble viewing this embedded version, it is also at Vimeo -click here.)

On a magical summer afternoon, John and I started setting up about 2 PM.  We had received special permission to use the cave diver's staging platform for the evening from Edd Sorenson of Cave Adventurers who built the dock. Perfect. We strung a guide rope to the shore that we could use to ferry lighting gear to shore via the boat.  Finally by 7 pm, we had our compositions fine-tuned, our cameras locked down on tripods, our gear laid out,  and were ready to start shooting.  We took turns working the side-by-side cameras while the other "danced" (more like stumbled) through the woods with lights and tiki torches, or dived the spring cavern with a strobe.  Eight hours later -- at 3 AM -- we made our last frames. Whew! 277 versions of a single scene.  Here are a few samples.

9 Images - hole in wall9 Images - hole in wall

Many of the 277 were failed experiments or poorly exposed, and useless. Many were redundant. But we had plenty of frames to work with back in the digital darkroom. We worked our similar sets of images independently, each turning our raw images into our own arty surreal nightscape. 

Ultimately, this base shot....

Hole in the Wall SpringHole in the Wall Spring

Turned into this.....

Earthly Eyes AglowEarthly Eyes AglowLight-painted Nightscape, Hole-in-the-Wall Spring, Merritts Mill Pond, Jackson County, FL. Story of this photo here:

Earthly Eyes Aglow. Yes, exactly the same scene, just lit differently.

Hope you enjoyed this image and blog at least a fraction as much as I enjoyed making it. Your comments below are much appreciated. Have a spooky Halloween. And share this link with friends and family please.



Renee Rushing(non-registered)
Thank you both for your artistry & your exhaustive efforts. Beautifully done.
As a 3rd generation, native Floridian, I'd explored much of our natural, forest & water wonders, as a youth. I recently moved away from my over-built hometown (Pinellas County) so I can explore & enjoy natural FL again.
You inspire me!
Dianne Hobbs(non-registered)
Beautiful photography!
Jeanne Back(non-registered)
I am transported. Thank you.
Danny Gwynn-Shapiro(non-registered)
Finally had a chance to take a look at this. Neat to see the video, I had no idea what it took to get a shot like this to come together. The final image looks magical to me.
John Phillip Adams(non-registered)
Photographer, loves diving, Done a few holes as deep as 120 feet down, in North Florida cave vortex.
No comments posted.

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