Photographer Terrance Siemon shares a couple of his favorite shots and what it takes to capture it on camera

lightning alvord desert dried up lake bed
Terrance Siemon
Alvord Desert Lightning

I wanted to make it there for sunset. 

Camping overnight and shooting a timelapse in this dry lake bed called the Alvord Desert was the first stop in a 10-day solo road trip across Oregon. Getting there in time for sunset required speeding along a gravel road, an effort nearly deflated by a flat tire. Once I had the spare on, I thought I’d missed the shot. 

When I did finally arrive to set up for the shot, the sun was set but a storm had just begun. A little concerned about lightning since my tripod and camera were the tallest point for a least two miles in every direction, I dialed in settings for a medium-exposure timelapse and lied on my back to wait for the storm to pass in hopes that I would catch a few lightning shots. 

I got what I asked for. 


Camera: Nikon D800

Focal Length: 14mm 

ISO: 50 

Exposure: 6 seconds

Aperture: f/11

night photography bisti badlands New Mexico
Terrance Siemon
Bisti Badlands

The Bisti Badlands is one of those places that lures photographers from all over. Its otherworldly landscape looks like another planet, and shooting it at night just amplifies that outer space element. 

I went there on another solo photo/camping trip. Any photographer and timelapser knows these trips mean little to no sleep if you’re going to be shooting the night sky. I had a timelapse set up with my Nikon D800 to shoot the stars all night long, and since that takes many hours I wandered around with a second camera taking still photos and playing with lights. This is one of those shots. I used my headlamp to hit the voodoo from the side, tried several different angles, set up my camera on a tripod. From there it’s just trial-and-error until you snap something you like.


Camera: Sony A7sii 

Focal Length: 16mm 

ISO: 1600 

Exposure: 30 seconds

Aperture: f/4