Photo of The Day by Valerie Millett

Starry Starry Night by Valerie Millett
Starry Starry Night by Valerie Millett

I see a lot of photos from Havasu Falls. It's among the most sought after landscape photo locations in the West, but I've never seen one quite like this. Most photographers strive to capture the falls in the early morning or late afternoon magic hours. Valerie Millett took this photo which she calls Starry Starry Night under the night sky and she submitted it to the Moving Water Assignment which is currently open for submission. The falling water is transformed into a simple conical shape beneath the starry sky. A slightly faster shutter speed, less than 30 seconds, would have eliminated the slight streaking in the stars. Overall, the photo is so strong that the slight streaks don't significantly detract from the image for me. Millett took this photo with her Canon EOS 5D Mk II.

I select a Photo Of The Day every day. I choose the images from the various OP galleries including AssignmentsYour Favorite Places and all of the OP Contests. Also, for each issue of the magazine I go through the Assignments galleries and choose a few to be featured in The Best Of Assignments in print and I select a weekly winner to be featured on the OP home page. To get your photos into the running all you have to do is submit them.


    Nice timing. I think the image would work better as a square

    with ?_ of the sky cropped. Also, lightening the sands rather

    than a nondescript gray would improve the visual impact.

    Finally, changing the camera angle to avoid having some of

    the yucca poking above the sand into the sky would be less

    jarring visually. It might also be interesting as a tonal composition

    in B & W.

    Hey Lew,

    Timing is everything and thanks for all those suggestions. I’m just happy Outdoor Photographer Magazine liked it enough (as is) to make it Photo Of The Day!

    Hi Valerie,

    Not sure where the rest of my post went, but I wanted to say this image is stunning. I love the space devoted to the sky and the color is sensational. The timing was perfect and the back-lit bush is beautiful. The little strip of light at the dune edge is cool! I wouldn’t change a thing!

    The back-lite fire in the sky is what some refer to as “Negative Space”. Some well meaning critics can’t stand negative space saying it adds nothing to the image, therefore is a distraction and should be cropped.

    On the other hand, some would say that this sky (negative space) is important in driving the eye down to the sand contours and the back-lit yucca. The sky in your image adds context (environment).

    I think you’ve captured the moment of sunrise in the desert. Well done!

    Thanks Ted!!

    One of the MOST important things I’ve learned developing my photography is that I follow my personal sentiments in regards to composition and post-processing and it’s certainly served me well.

    I have my own vision and set of aesthetics and like just fingerprints, no two are the same. I’m not one to “jump” through hoops at the suggestion or critiques of others. The sky and slow gradation of the sunrise are key elements in this story not something I’d even consider cropping. The image isn’t “jarring” in any fashion (or I assume it wouldn’t have been picked by the editors for Photo Of The Day AND the Layers Assignment winner). It’s essential the yucca is postioned as is…to show the nice backlighting going on. I always think of David DuChemin’s great article called “You’re Doing It Wrong” where he says…”beware of the outside voices”, so noted.

    I don’t put much credence into shoulds, rules, etc… I just do what feels right for me and my work. It’s impossible to please everyone but I’m one happy photographer!

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