Amazing star-spangled night military shot was not “faked”


posted Friday, October 5, 2012 at 10:45 AM EDT

Check out this amazing star-spangled night photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder. Does it look "faked" or heavily Photoshopped to you? It's not, according to an interesting behind-the-scenes lighting story on Strobist today.

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder

Snyder, an aerial combat photographer, captured this shot of 1st. Lt. Drew Parks serving as a spotter for F/A-18 Super Hornet pilots in Kuwait as part of training run for Operation Spartan Shield.

Snyder used a Nikon D3s and 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, shooting at ISO 2000 to give him a shutter speed of 20 seconds. Since he was traveling light as part of his mission, Snyder had no tripod and just set the camera and lens down in the sand to steady it for the long exposure.

The only light Snyder used was a tactical flash light, which he called "simple but effective." He lit Parks for just a few seconds during the 20-second shot to be able to capture the full spectrum of the star field in the background.

Talk about "Improvising, adapting, and overcoming." Read more details at Strobist.

See more photos by Snyder and other combat photographers here.

If you're interested in military photography, you also may want to read our story on the Olympus camera the Navy Seal used to photograph those controversial photos of a dead Osama Bin Laden.

And finally, check out this grueling helmet camera video of a firefight in Afghanistan.