Photographer Profile: Jeff Sullivan

Bodie State Historic Park, California

Bodie State Historic Park, California. Canon 5D Mark III, EF 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, circular polarizing filter, Cokin #120 2-stop graduated neutral-density filter. Exposure: 3.2 seconds at f/5.6, ISO 640. The sun had set behind the Bodie Hills following evening rain showers, and there was a huge range of light from the sky to the foreground. Glare was wiping out all of the sky color on Bodie’s wet, rusty ’37 Chevy. A circular polarizing filter was added to reduce glare and improve color and detail on the car. A graduated neutral-density filter helped compress the sky and foreground exposures into a usable range. Three exposures were bracketed to provide further flexibility if one exposure didn’t capture it all. The individual exposures were adjusted in Adobe Lightroom, combined in Photomatix HDR software, and the resulting TIFF file was fine-tuned in Lightroom.

Photographer: Jeff Sullivan

Full-Time Professional Photographer

Photographic Specialties:

  • Landscape
  • Wildlife
  • Travel
  • Photojournalism
  • Wedding
  • Architecture / Real Estate


Jeff Sullivan is an award-winning astrophotographer, landscape photographer, time-lapse videographer, educator, speaker and travel writer. Since winning Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2011 (People and Space category), he has led dozens of night photography and landscape photography workshops. His 320-page “Photographing California Vol. 2 – South” guidebook is available on Amazon and via his Web site. His work has been licensed by National Geographic, Outdoor Photographer, BBC, France TV2 and many more.

View Jeff’s latest work and his current photography workshop schedule on his blog.


Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Canon EOS 6D, EF 16-35mm f/2.8 lens. Five exposures of 30 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 12,800. One of the great things about photography is that you can always push the limits of what’s possible to get fresh results. I’ve been shooting the Milky Way since 2009, and reflections add an extra dimension of challenge since you lose most of the light. It’s even more of a challenge when you’re trying to get even more faint light such as airglow, the green glow of luminescent oxygen at night. The Milky Way can be captured at ISO 3200, but I pushed the ISO up to 12,800 to get the green airglow, both in the sky and mixed with the star-illuminated golden color of the geyser basin. Five exposures were captured in portrait orientation, adjusted and combined into this panorama in Adobe Lightroom.

Yosemite National Park, California.

Yosemite National Park, California. Canon EOS 6D, EF 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, Canon 80N3 intervalometer. This image was created from 54 30-second exposures. For the October 2011 cover image of Outdoor Photographer, I practiced a shot like this one the night before the moonbows would arrive, but a storm moved in so I couldn’t include the moonbow. I still had the original concept in my mind, so ultimately everything came together during my spring Yosemite workshop in 2017. To produce this result you have to eliminate airplanes, most car headlights, photographer headlamps and red lights, and capture enough of the earth’s movement while not letting the “moonbow” move enough to start wiping itself out and re-combining the spectrum of light into white in the center.

Death Valley National Park, California.

Death Valley National Park, California. Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4 IS L lens, circular polarizing filter. Bracketed 1/250th second shots at f/16, f/10, f/6.3, ISO 200. There was a lot of sand blowing on the sand dunes on this windy day, but shooting at 111mm, I was able to capture the motion from a distance with minimal sandblasting of my camera gear! The telephoto perspective compressed the layers of dunes nicely, but it also reduced depth of field. I used shutter priority to get some sand grains still and others with motion blur at 1/250th of a second, with f-stops of f/16, f/10, f/6.3 for a range of abstraction in the results from the depth of the various ridges from front to back. I estimated where to focus for maximum depth of field (a hyperfocal shot), considering where detail and texture were most important, and what could be allowed to go soft to enhance the abstract shapes and the motion blur of the plumes of blowing sand.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 14 mm f/2.8 L lens. Four exposures of 30 seconds at f/5, ISO 1600. Clouds were blocking the sky on this evening, so we settled for some light painting in blue hour light. Three light orbs were blended with a side-lit shot of the polygons of rock salt no the salt flats in Badwater Basin.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park. Canon EOS 6D, EF 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, Canon 80N3 intervalometer. 405 exposures of 30 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 6400. It’s important to find the darkest skies to shoot meteors effectively. In this location, I pick up a lot of light pollution from Las Vegas, over 100 miles away! I captured 405 images to find a few dozen bright meteors to combine into one composite image.