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How I got the shotShowcaseShowcase 2022

Showcase 2022 Winner: Alice Cahill

By June 3, 2022No Comments

Artist’s statement

There is nothing like standing under the vault of the night sky and gazing up at the heavens. So many stars! It makes me think about all the ancient peoples who looked up at the same sky and feel connected to them. Time takes on a different dimension here. How many years has this ancient tree stood against the sky – rooted in granite. Under sun, storms, and stars it endures windswept and strong. I am in awe.

How I got the shot

When I set up to take this image, I knew I wanted to capture the movement of the stars behind the ancient tree. By aiming my camera to the south – away from the North Star I was able to capture the star trails ‘bending’ in opposite directions at the edges of the frame.

What I used

I took “Star Swept” using a Sony a9 camera and a Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 lens on a FotoPro tripod. I took 20 star images, each set at 16mm, ISO 800, f/4 and with 4-minute exposures. I also took 4 additional images for the lighted foreground tree at ISO 400, 15 seconds, f/4. I used Lightroom and Photoshop to process the final image. Of the 20 star images I captured only one did not have lights from cars driving by. I used that single image for my base when I assembled the photo.

“Star Swept,” Yosemite National Park, California, 2022 Showcase, Judges’ Choice, Scapes © Alice Cahill

Headshot of Alice Cahill

About me

I have been photographing since the mid-1990s. Since I retired to Morro Bay on the Central Coast of California in 2008, I have been able to devote all my time and energy to pursuing my passion. I am an avid bird photographer, but recently night photography has captured my imagination. The Sierra Nevada – especially Yosemite – is always a favorite destination for me.

I have always been an ‘outside’ person and am happiest when I am in nature. In my early formative years, I grew up on an orange grove. My dad gave me the big picture and was always taking us on adventures to national parks, the California desert and the Sierras. My mom was the one who sat quietly with me in the tall grass of meadows and showed me all the little things. I believe that nature is a healing force and a refuge from the chaos of daily life. Photography is the perfect medium to showcase the wonders of the natural world.

I love the combination of artistic vision and technical expertise that photography offers. When I attended my first NANPA Summit in 1999, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Jim Brandenburg. To this day I find his 90-day journey “Chased by the Light” awe inspiring.

NANPA and me

I joined NANPA in 1999 and attended my first Summit in San Diego that same year. I have had multiple images accepted in previous Showcases and was honored to win best in show in the All Other Wildlife category in 2015. My image of a mass of woolly caterpillars taken at Tambopata National Reserve in Peru was also featured as the back cover of the Expressions journal that year. I have also received a Judge’s Choice award for my Altered Reality image in 2016 and a First Runner-Up in 2018. In 2021 I won the Best in Category – Conservation award.

Learn more

Flickr: @alicecahill
Facebook: @alice.cahill.750