Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

This year's Monthly Image Competition has been full of amazing images from the members of the UPAA. If you haven't seen them yet, check out the winners from November. The Best of Show prize went to Robert Jordan for his images called "Doorknob to the Universe" I asked Robert to share how he created the image:

Mary Stanton, Broadcast Communications Specialist, came to me with project she needed help with. She wants to put together a series of short video clips, each representing “10 Things Every Ole Miss Student Should Experience”. Her idea is to make a very short clip for each item using a still image with a brief narrative. Many of the images are readily available, but she did not have an image of “The Doorknob to the Universe”.

The ‘Doorknob’ was a big deal in the pre-internet, cellphone, DVR, DVD days when I attended Ole Miss. Frankly, I’m surprised people still do this. To introduce a newbie to the Doorknob, you blindfold the subject, drive them around town (bonus points for taking some bumpy backroads along the way) and walk them to the water tower. You then have them lean their back up against the base of the tower and lean their head back till the top of their head is touching the water tower. Then the blindfold is removed and the Doorknob revealed.

A pair of students on a date came up while I was shooting this sequence. A car pulled up and I could see that the girl was blindfolded with her date’s necktie. She was wearing a fancy sequined dress and he was dressed up in slacks and a blazer, he opened her door and led her up to the tower, positioned her and removed the blindfold and told her to open her eyes and behold the Doorknob to the Universe. She looked up and didn't seem too impressed and she walked back to the car.

Kids these days just don't know a cool thing when they see it. :) My star photos of the water tower turned out great and I was also able to resize the images and make them into a time-lapse that looks even more impressive than the still. I really wish I had the TriggerTrap and knew how to shoot stacked star trails when I was in Utah for the symposium. Instead, I shot l-o-n-g exposures and had to clean up a lot of noise on my star trail photos. This photo was shot with a Nikon D4 – 24-70mm f2.8 lens. Each exposure was ISO 200, 15 second at F/2.8. There were some frames that I had to toss due to car headlights, I think there were about 300 ‘keepers’ that made the final stack. I used the TriggerTrap app and cable to trigger the camera with my iPhone 4s. I shot for almost an hour and a half and then combined the images using StarStax software.

Here is a time-lapse of the photos, make sure to watch it full screen in HD to see the star detail.