Joe Reifer: Desert Night Photography
The weird solitude, the great silence, the grim desolation, are the very things with which every desert wanderer eventually falls in love. You think that very strange perhaps? Well, the beauty of the ugly was something of a paradox, but today people admit its truth; and the grandeur of the desolate is just as paradoxical, yet the desert gives us proof.
- John C. Van Dyke, The Desert, 1901
The 20 images in this portfolio were shot in the Mojave Desert between the Fall of 2009 and November 2010. I shoot within a few days of the full moon in order to have enough illumination. Exposure times range from 5 minutes to 40 minutes. Sometimes I use a flashlight to add extra light on the subject or fill shadow areas during the time of the exposure. The images are adjusted for tone and color, and sometimes multiple image stacking techniques are used to prevent digital noise. But there are no Photoshop tricks here. What you’re seeing is the passing of time captured in a still frame as the camera saw it — the magic of moonlight in the desert.