Ron Santini Photography: Blog en-us (C) Ron Santini Photography [email protected] (Ron Santini Photography) Sun, 12 May 2024 14:29:00 GMT Sun, 12 May 2024 14:29:00 GMT Ron Santini Photography: Blog 94 120 The Aurora Borealis in North Carolina On May 10 & 11, 2024 most of the US experienced a maybe once or twice in a lifetime experience of seeing the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis from most anywhere in the State, including in the city, where light pollution usually washes out any chance of seeing this spectacular astronomical display.

Aurora In a Rural Area


Figure 1. Effects of Minimal Light Pollution

This photograph was taken at the entrance to the Raffaldini Vineyards in Yadkin County and shows how bright the Aurora was that evening. You will notice on the left side of the photo where the typical night sky arches up over the horizon, pushing the Aurora higher in the sky. This is due to light pollution from a distant town or city washing out the Aurora, but for the most part this is a spectacular panorama of the Aurora on the night of May 10, 2024. 

Aurora In A Suburban/Town/City Area


Figure 2. Impacts of Light Pollution.

This photo was taken at Lake Norman, Huntersville, NC on the night of May 10, 2024, a little later in the night. The pink colors are the Aurora. Notice how washed out the Aurora was from the light pollution from the town of Huntersville and the surrounding areas.

Coronal Mass Ejection

You may ask, so what caused the Aurora Borealis to appear so far South. The answer can be found on solar activity on the sun due to Solar Mass Ejections (CME). CMEs travel outward from the Sun at speeds ranging from slower than 560,000 miles per second (m/s) to as fast as 6,710,809 m/s. The fastest Earth-directed CMEs can reach our planet in as little as 15-18 hours. Slower CMEs can take several days to arrive.


Figure 3. Sun spot activity.

The sun spot shown on this photograph of the Sun is responsible for causing this CRE.  The speed of this CRE was estimated at between 470-500 mi/s. The event was classified as a G5-class geomagnetic storm, making it the most intense storm since the 2003 Several other CMEs were expected to reach Earth on 11 and 12 May.

So what is a G5-class magnetic storm. Here is a rating scale used by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) 

Geomagnetic Storm ScaleGeomagnetic Storm Scale Figure 4. NOAA Geomagnetic Rating Scale

I hope you found this blog of interest and maybe even raised your curiosity to explore the night sky, If so please leave comments. Thanks!

[email protected] (Ron Santini Photography) Aurora Borealis Lights Northern Solar Spots Storms Sun Sun, 12 May 2024 14:29:19 GMT
Iceland, Part 3 Iceland, Part 3  This is part 3 of my Iceland trip.


Your feedback would be most appreciated, and "Thanks" for taking the time to look through this blog..

[email protected] (Ron Santini Photography) 3 Iceland Part Mon, 06 Nov 2023 13:00:00 GMT
Iceland, Part 2 Iceland, Part 2 This is part 2 of 3 of the Iceland series blog post.


Please give me your feedback on this blog post, and "Thank You" for taking the time to view this blog. 4040 4141 4242 4343 4444 4545 4646 4747 4848 4949 5050 5151 5252 5353 5454 5555 5656 5757 5858 5959 6060 6161 6262 6363 6464 6565 6666 6767 6868 6969 7070 7171 7272 7373 7474 7575 7676 7777 7878 7979

[email protected] (Ron Santini Photography) ICELAND Mon, 30 Oct 2023 12:00:00 GMT
Iceland, Part 1 I had the opportunity to photograph in Iceland for 15 days in September. Iceland, Part 1 will be followed by Iceland Part 2 during the week of October 30, 2023. Here is a link to Iceland, Part 1. Just click on the first photo and then move through the slideshow using the right arrow key.


                                                                                    Iceland, Part 1

[email protected] (Ron Santini Photography) churches glaciers Iceland landscapes volcanoes waterfalls Fri, 20 Oct 2023 20:33:06 GMT

In order to become proficient in photography, one needs to have an intimate understanding of the exposure triangle and the components that make up this triangle.

The photography exposure triangle is a term used to explain the relationship between three critical camera settings that determine the exposure of a photo: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.




Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO are the three main components of exposure in photography. These settings are all interconnected and affect the final outcome of an image.

Aperture refers to the opening in the lens through which light enters the camera. It is measured in f-stops, with smaller numbers indicating a wider opening, and larger numbers indicating a narrower opening. Aperture affects the depth of field (the amount of the image that is in focus), as well as the amount of light that enters the camera. A wider aperture (smaller f-stop) allows more light into the camera and creates a shallower depth of field, while a narrower aperture (larger f-stop) lets in less light and creates a deeper depth of field.

Shutter speed refers to the length of time that the camera's shutter is open, allowing light to reach the sensor. It is measured in fractions of a second, with faster shutter speeds allowing less light into the camera and slower shutter speeds allowing more light in. Shutter speed affects motion blur, with faster shutter speeds freezing motion and slower speeds allowing for motion blur. It also affects the amount of light that enters the camera.

ISO is a measure of the sensitivity of the camera's sensor to light. It is measured in numbers, with higher numbers indicating greater sensitivity, and lower numbers indicating less sensitivity. Increasing the ISO allows the camera to capture more light in low-light situations, but also adds noise (graininess) to the image. Lower ISO settings produce cleaner, smoother images, but require more light.

The relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO is known as the exposure triangle. Changing any one of these settings affects the overall exposure and requires changes to the other two settings to maintain a correct exposure. For example, if you want to increase the depth of field by using a narrower aperture, you will need to increase the shutter speed or ISO to compensate for the decreased amount of light entering the camera.

Now let us look at each of these components in more detail.


Shutter speed refers to the amount of time the camera's shutter is open while taking a photograph. It determines the amount of light that enters the camera and hits the sensor or film. The faster the shutter speed, the less time the sensor is exposed to light, while a slower shutter speed means that the sensor is exposed to light for a longer period.

Shutter speed is measured in seconds or fractions of a second. For example, a shutter speed of 1/1000 means that the shutter is open for 1/1000th of a second. Some cameras allow for speeds as fast as 1/4000th of a second and some even faster, while others can go as slow as 30 seconds or more.

Shutter speed also affects the appearance of motion in a photograph. A fast shutter speed can freeze action and produce a sharp image, for example, when photographing sports or wildlife. A slow shutter speed can create a motion blur effect, such as when photographing waterfalls or moving cars.

Shutter speed is an important aspect of photography that controls the amount of light allowed into the camera and affects the appearance of motion in a photograph.


Aperture refers to the opening in the lens through which light enters the camera and strikes the sensor or film. It is measured in f-stops or f-numbers, which determine the size of the opening. A smaller f-number indicates a larger aperture, while a larger f-number indicates a smaller aperture.

The aperture setting affects several aspects of a photograph, including depth of field, sharpness, and exposure. A wide aperture (small f-number) produces a shallow depth of field, which means only a small portion of the image is in focus, while a narrow aperture (larger f-number) produces a deep depth of field, where everything in the image is in focus. This is important in portrait photography, where a shallow depth of field can be used to blur the background and draw attention to the subject.

Together, the three settings in the photography exposure triangle work in conjunction to produce the desired exposure for a given scene. Adjusting one setting impacts the others, so understanding how they interact is crucial to creating well-exposed images.

In addition to controlling depth of field, aperture also affects the amount of light that reaches the sensor. A wide aperture allows more light to enter the camera, while a narrow aperture allows less light in. This means that the aperture setting must be adjusted in conjunction with other settings, such as shutter speed and ISO, to obtain the proper exposure.

Overall, aperture is a critical aspect of photography that photographers must understand to create images with the desired depth of field, sharpness, and exposure.


ISO is one of the key elements of photography that plays a vital role in determining the exposure level of an image. It stands for the International Organization for Standardization, which measures the sensitivity of the camera's image sensor or film to light. Here are some key points to consider when discussing ISO for photography:

1. ISO range: Most digital cameras have an ISO range of 100-6400 or more, which indicates the camera's sensitivity to light. The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive the camera is to light, while the higher the ISO number, the more sensitive the camera is.

2. Noise: One of the important factors to consider when choosing your ISO is the amount of noise that is produced in your images. Higher ISO settings produce more noise or grain in the image, which can be distracting and lower overall image quality.

3. Aperture and shutter speed: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed are the three elements of exposure triangle. Adjusting one of these settings impacts the exposure of the image. For example, if the shutter speed is fast, you can use a lower ISO setting in low light conditions.

4. Best setting for different lighting conditions: ISO setting can vary depending on the lighting conditions. In bright sunlight, a lower ISO setting (e.g., ISO 100) works best, while in low light conditions, a higher ISO (e.g., ISO 1600 or higher) can be used to capture the image with the right exposure.

5. Choosing the right ISO: When choosing the ISO for your photos, consider the lighting conditions, the subject, and the final destination of the image. For example, if you are shooting in low light conditions indoors, you may need to use a higher ISO. However, if you are taking pictures for print or online use, a lower ISO will result in a higher quality image.

ISO plays a critical role in photography as it affects the exposure level and image quality. Choosing the appropriate ISO setting depends on the lighting conditions, subject, and the final output of the image, so it’s important to understand how to use ISO and experiment with different settings to capture great photos.


Here is a list of conclusions & takeaways for those wanted an explanation of the exposure triangle.

1. Understanding the relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO is crucial to controlling the exposure of your photographs.

2. The three elements of the exposure triangle work together to create the right exposure. Changing one element affects the other two.

3. Aperture controls the amount of light that enters the camera and affects depth of field.

4. Shutter speed controls the amount of time the camera's sensor is exposed to light and affects motion blur.

5. ISO is the sensitivity of the camera's sensor to light and affects the level of noise in the photograph.

6. Learning to balance the three elements of the exposure triangle takes practice and experimentation.

7. Understanding the exposure triangle empowers photographers to be more creative and selective in capturing the perfect shot.

8. Paying attention to the exposure triangle can help you to master your camera settings and improve your photographic skills.



[email protected] (Ron Santini Photography) exposure photography triangle Fri, 08 Sep 2023 19:17:07 GMT
First Flowers of Spring 2023 Picture1Picture1

Picture2Picture2 Picture3Picture3




[email protected] (Ron Santini Photography) 2023 Daffodil First Flower Grape Hyacinth Lenten of Rose Spring Sun, 26 Feb 2023 15:02:20 GMT
How I got the Shot In June of 2022, my family and I made a vacation trip to North and South Dakota to visit the national parks in each state. We also visited South Dakota’s Black Hills and Custer State Park. It was during our visit to Badlands National Park that we witnessed a once in a lifetime event. The picture below shows our location on the Sage Creek Rim Road within the park.


Location of PhotographLocation of Photograph

We noticed a severe thunderstorm coming our way from the west and I realized we could be in for a dramatic moment, but I was not prepared for the event that unfolded as the thunderstorm passed by us. We were on the road Looking for bison as the storm approached. The storm lasted about 20 minutes. Once the storm passed to our east, the sky started to open up to our west. As it did, it cast a double rainbow arching through the angry clouds that were moving east with the storm.

Rainbow (1 of 1)Rainbow (1 of 1)

This picture only shows a single rainbow because my location prevented me from capturing the entire scene with my 15mm lens.

As the storm passed and the double rainbow appeared, I knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to capture nature in all its splendid glory. I grabbed my camera and tripod from the vehicle and setup in the middle of the road to capture the moment at the right time. The photo above is the result. My camera settings for this photo were1/200 sec shutter speed, ISO 160, F/8, 15mm Rokinon lens and a Canon R5 mirrorless camera. The rainbow lasted for well over 30 minutes and allowed me to capture a couple of other iconic pictures. This photograph was awarded The Judges’ Choice Award in the North American Nature Photographers Association Showcase 2023 competition.

BADLANDS NPIconic WestIconic West: Golden Grasslands, A double Rainbow and a Bison.

In western movies we see the wide-open spaces of the west and the dramatic scenery. This photo captures the essence of what the west is. A double rainbow, golden grasslands and a bison, captured in one photograph, truly depicts an iconic image of the west.

As the storm passed, Mammatus clouds developed, flanked on the left by a rainbow. Mammatus clouds can be cumulonimbus or cirrus clouds that have pouch-like shapes hanging out the bottom. The pouches are created when cold air within the clouds sinks down toward the Earth.

Mammatus CloudsMammatus CloudsMammatus Clouds and a Double Rainbow.

The spectacular scenes that developed were truly once in a lifetime experience. Doug Gardner, a respected wildlife photographer and videographer, closes his videos with this phrase: "It’s not about the photography, but rather it’s about the outdoor adventure.” This truly was about the outdoor adventure!


[email protected] (Ron Santini Photography) Badlands clouds Front Landscapes Mammatus National Nature Park rainbow Storm Thu, 15 Dec 2022 05:45:00 GMT
Waterfalls of the Finger Lakes Region of New York

[email protected] (Ron Santini Photography) Finger Lakes landscapes nature new water waterfalls york Thu, 01 Dec 2022 12:00:00 GMT
Pennsylvania Elk Country

[email protected] (Ron Santini Photography) Area Benezette Elk landscapes nature PA Pennsylvania Quehanna Wilderness wildlife Wed, 16 Nov 2022 06:15:00 GMT
The Finger Lakes Region of New York

[email protected] (Ron Santini Photography) barns botanical cornell corning finger garden glass lakes landscapes museum museums nature wildlife Tue, 01 Nov 2022 11:00:00 GMT
The Art of Glass Blowing in the Pacific Northwest Slide1Slide1



A series of photo taken at the Avalon Glassworks, 2914 SW Avalon Way, Seattle, WA 98126 follows. Avalon Glassworks is a glass art gallery and working hot shop where you can talk to the artists, see the process, and buy gifts of glasswork made on-site. Free demos 5 days a week.


glass artist at workAn artist working the glass.A glass artist pulling out hot glass from the molten glass furnace.



The art of glass blowingHere are two glass artisians working as a team to create what will be a pimpkin.

Avalon GlassworksCreating an apple!Here is an artesian starting to create a glass apple.

Avalon GlassworksThe apple taking shapeThe apple is glowing hot, but taking the final form.


Avalon Glassworks - Finished AppleThe finished product!The apple is finished and will now be placed in the annealing oven to cool before it is ready for display.


Chihuly Garden and Glass

305 Harrison Street

Seattle, Washington 98109













[email protected] (Ron Santini Photography) and artists avalon chihuly dale garden glass glassblowing glassworks seattle washington Thu, 14 Apr 2022 20:55:58 GMT
Death Valley National Park: A Land of Extreme Environments  


Death Valley National Park

A Land of Extreme Environments


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Death Valley National Park originally was designated as a national monument in 1933 and became a national park in 1994.  It is a valley of extremes: extreme temperatures, extreme environments, extreme weather conditions and extreme size.

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Artists Point


Temperatures in Death Valley National Park are frequent and extreme. On July 10, 1913, the US Weather Bureau recorded a temperature of 134 oF at Greenland Ranch (now Furnace Creek) in Death Valley. This temperature stands as the highest ambient temperature recorded at the surface on Planet Earth. The average high temperature in Death Valley National Park generally occurs in July around 117 oF, and the average low temperature occurs in December at 66 oF. Death Valley National Park averages about 2 inches of rainfall/year. During my visit there in December, I had the opportunity to experience a rare climactic event.


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Rain, Snow, Snow Capped Peaks and Sunshine


What I witnessed were snow peaked mountains, snow, rain, and sunshine all occurring at the same time.  An extreme event for sure, but a nature and landscape photographer’s dream!

Elevations in Death Valley National Park range from a low of 282 feet below mean sea level (msl) at Badwater Basin to 11,048 feet above msl at Telescope Peak. This dramatic change has created extreme environments from snowcapped mountains to dried up salt flats, sand dunes and flood-driven canyons.


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Salt Flats

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Mesquite Sand Dunes

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Plants will grow in harsh environments

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Sunrise at Zabriskie Point


The geology of Death Valley National Park is quite fascinating and has a complex geologic history way too long to explain in detail in this article. (Insert Rock Formation Photo) Suffice to say Death Valley is composed of ancient seas, warped mountains, volcanic activity, with much of this created by erosion and deposition. For example, beneath Badwater Basin lies more than 11,000 feet of accumulated sediment and salts.

The extremes of climatic changes are no stranger to Death Valley. During the last major Ice Age, the valley was part of a vast system of lakes. These lakes disappeared approximately 10,000 years ago and left behind vast fields of salt deposits. Sodium chloride, table salt, makes up the majority of the salts found in Badwater basin. (Insert Photos of Salt Deposit-1 or-2) About 2100 years ago a volcanic explosion created the Ubehebe Crater, (Insert Ubehebe Crater-1 or-2) an interaction between the hot, molten materials coming in contact with groundwater.

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Looking into Uehebe Crater

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A trail around Uehebe Crater

The size of Death Valley National Park is the largest national park in the lower 48 states at 5,270mi2.

In closing I will say the visit to Death Valley National Park was fascinating to photograph in a stark, desert environment, but one that begs a return to capture more of this extreme place. 



Please visit these social media sites to view more of Ron’s photography.



[email protected] (Ron Santini Photography) death desert dunes environments extreme flats geology national park salt sand valley Tue, 01 Mar 2022 20:36:04 GMT
Tips for Photographing the Milky Way 2022 Milky Way Calendar BODIE ISLAND LH-1BODIE ISLAND LH-1


One of the fun things to do with your camera is to photograph the night sky. You can start with photographing the Milky Way, stars, and star trails. As you get better at the process you can add light painting into the mix to create foreground interest. This blog is about photographing the Milky Way and provides many useful tips for capturing it. Please leaves comments below, and please subscribe to my blog by clicking on the "Subscribe" button at the top right. Thanks for taking time time to read this blog.



  • Camera
  • Lens
  • Lens Dew Heater (Chemical hand warmer and rubberband work well)
  • Tripod
  • Intervalometer/remote cable release
  • Gaffers Tape
  • Head Lamp/Flashlight w/red & white colors)
  • Smartphone with a star map app installed

Best Time of Year to Photograph the Milky Way (2)

  • In the Northern Hemisphere from March through September
  • In the Southern Hemisphere from March through September


  • Dark location away from light pollution sources

Camera Type

  • Most any DSLR or Mirrorless camera should work
  • Note: Entry-level cameras may introduce too much noise in final images


  • 14mm – 24mm

Aperture: f/2.8 or lower for best results

  • Tripod
  • Sturdy and at a height that you can view the Milky Way without extending the center column.
  • Good sturdy ball head that locks down and prevents securely preventing camera drift.


  • Allows you to set the exposure time and snap a picture without touching the camera shutter button.
  • Many newer cameras have intervalometers built-in. Know how to operate BEFORE arriving at a shoot.

Gaffers Tape

  • Used to tape down the focus ring once you have obtained focus. This prevents accidental movement of the focus ring once you have it set. Used for navigating in the dark and reading camera settings.

Head Lamp/Flashlight

  • If you have both bring them. Both should preferably have a red light option. Once your eyes are adapted to the dark, the red light allows navigating in the dark and making camera adjustments. The red light allows you to see in the dark without disturbing your dark-adapted eyes.

Smartphone Star App

  • Used to locate individual stars, planets, and galaxies
  • Stellarium (Android)
  • Sky Guide (iOS)
  • Photo Pills
  • PlanIt, PlanIt Live, PlanIt Pro
  • The Photographer’s Ephemeris (Android)
  • Clear Outside

Procedure for Taking Milky Way Photographs

  • Set Up Your Camera
  • Set your camera to capture RAW images
  • If using a telephoto lens such as a 16-35mm, zoom out its widest extent
  • Set your camera to MANUAL FOCUS
  • Set your camera to MANUAL EXPOSURE
  • Set your camera self-timer to 2 seconds
  • Optional: Set your camera to BULB MODE.
  • Start at ISO 3200 and adjust accordingly.
  • Disable Long Exposure Noise Reduction
  • Enable the camera’s histogram
  • Milky Way Exposure Calculator (3)

Determine If using an intervalometer, set it to it using the Rule of 500 or NPF Rule (4,5)

SS = 500/(CF x FL)

SS = Shutter Speed

CF = If use a crop sensor camera

FL = Focal Length you have your lens set to

Example: Canon 7D with Crop Sensor of 1.4, lens focal length is 16mm

              SS = 500/(1.4 x 16) = 22.32 seconds = 22 seconds

              Set intervalometer to 22 seconds

Example: Canon R5 with a full-frame sensor, lens focal length is 16mm

              SS = 500/16 = 31.25 seconds = 31 seconds 

Set intervalometer to 30 seconds (Generally speaking, exposures over 30 seconds start to introduce star trails in your photo).

NOTE: Some folks use the 300 Rule (4) for setting exposure length and others use the NPF Rule (5)

Focusing in the dark

  • Manual focus on a distant star with Live View.
  • Autofocus on a flashlight at a distance of at least 100-150 ft from the camera.
  • Focus on a distance object >150 ft away in the daylight
  • Take a test shot to determine focus. Adjust as necessary and repeat.
  • Once the focus is set, tape down the focus ring with Gaffers Tape to prevent focus ring movement.

Compose Your Shot

  • Compose your shot. Depending on your method of choice, press the intervalometer button, remote camera release, or camera shutter button, to capture your image.
  • Review your photography adjust settings as necessary and reshoot.
  • You can also stack multiple images in post-processing by taking between 5-10 photos in succession once you have a final composition and settings.


1. How to Photograph the Milky Way – Lonely Speck

2. 2022 Milky Way Calendar 

3.  Milky Way Exposure Calculator - Xavier Jubier (

4. Brady Cabe Photographer Central California photography | The 500 and 300 Rule For Photographing The Night Sky

5. NPF: What Is The NPF Rule And How To Use It For Brilliant Star Photography? (


[email protected] (Ron Santini Photography) How to Milky Way Night Sky Photographing the Milky Way Tips for Photographing the Milky Way Fri, 02 Jul 2021 15:23:19 GMT
Never Forget I spent the afternoon at a Veterans Cemetery in Salisbury, NC photographing scenes and speaking with visitors. Please take a few minutes to view aand honor these fallen brothers and sisters.


Memorial Day 2021

[email protected] (Ron Santini Photography) 2021 Cemetery Day Memorial National Salisbury Mon, 31 May 2021 23:01:21 GMT
Interesting Facts About Alligators Here is a link to an article I created about alligators. Read, enjoy and share. Thanks for taking the time to view!!


Interesting Facts About Alligators

[email protected] (Ron Santini Photography) alligators nature wildlife Thu, 13 May 2021 13:29:24 GMT