Photographed by Lindsey Hofstra

Story

I am so excited to share this information with you guys – what took me a long time to learn on my own, finding software and apps to help my planning, and composition I can just teach you here without too much of the trial and error! These shots might seem really stressful at first, but just go out and test with the tools and advice I will give you :) You will even find your own camera and composition preferences apart from my own and what a neat photo to give your couples if you are doing an elopement or night/morning shoot!

I have always loved astrophotography, and Joshua Tree National Park was designated an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association in 2017 – which means it is a really great place to capture the Milky Way. It is harder to capture the Milky Way in areas near bigger towns or cities.

This shot was taken in March in the chilly early morning hours at Joshua Tree State Park, CA and is a blended image – the Milky Way was captured earlier around 5:30am, and the couple between 6:30-7:15am once more light from the sun was up. I scouted the area the night before, a place that was away from larger points of interest in the park, away from lights, close by the road so we didn’t have to walk far in the dark, checked that no hills would be blocking the view of the Milky Way and a place that had strong / aesthetically pleasing Joshua Trees. I also had to make sure that I would have my camera and tripod facing the couple the right way, since the Milky Way and sun dictate completely how you align your shot. It is always a good idea to scout the area before you have to take the shots, to make sure the terrain is safe as well. Since it was March and I am in the northern hemisphere, these photos were taken in the morning. During the summer in the northern hemisphere the Milky Way rises earlier and earlier, so you would actually take the Milky Way shots at night instead of the morning during that time of year. It also depends on your latitude and longitude, but I will get to that later with an easy app you can use to figure out the correct times!
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Directions

CalmHolding Each otherIntimate

“Lean your heads together softly and hold hands. Gently kiss her hands, bringing them up to your lips then away from you”
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Composition

Center FramedWideFull BodyNatural Frames

Focusing

Single Point Focused on The couple’s bodies Manual Focus
Light & Weather

Soft LightBack litDarkNatural LightBlue HourNight

Equipment & EXIF

1/125 f/1.8 ISO 250 WB Auto

Camera

Canon EOS 6D Mark I

Lens

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art

Additional Equipment

Tripod, shutter release button (to prevent camera shake on the tripod)

Editing

Adobe Lightroom Classic LH-Astro 1

This image was edited with

LH-Astro 1

Challenges & Solutions

Location

Desert United States

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree, CA 92252

Final tips & Advice

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Lindsey Hofstra

Photographer Dallas, TX Sony a7iii Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens
Happy to have you here! I’m Lindsey 👋 I’ve been playing with photography since I was 13 years old and bought my first DSLR camera when I was 17 and have not looked back since! I taught myself photoshop in high school and started to play around with different compositions and subject matter. I found astrophotography not long after and totally stumbled into it from trial and error. Then I started branching out into photographing couples after multiple friends started asking me for photographs. To be honest, I have always been really introverted so I felt like I struggled to line my couples up and get the right shot! Then I started dabbling with these two areas of photography and started combining shots of the starry night sky with my couples and really fell in love! I live in Dallas, TX so dark skies are about 2-3 hrs west of me unfortunately, but I love traveling for this type of photography as well 😄. I have two cute dogs, a loving husband, more candles and plants than I can count, and am continuously looking for outlets to express myself and my creativity…sometimes at the expense of having too many hobbies at once 😂.
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“When you realize and accept that you are not promised tomorrow, it is easy to say I love you. I forgive you. I miss you. I care for you.” – Rachel Wolchin

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