Local photographer Daniel McVey was first inspired to shoot landscapes at night while snowshoeing in the moonlight. "I thought that the mountains took on a new form of beauty that most people never saw and I wanted to capture it," said McVey, a primarily self-taught photographer based in Silverthorne whose Night/Astro collection is now on display at John Fielder's Denver Photo Art Gallery.The invitation to show at the Denver gallery came after McVey submitted a photograph of the Milky Way over Mayflower Gulch to a summer contest on Fielder's Colorado Facebook page and viewers voted his photo into first place. "I entered the contest to get noticed by them but I didn't really think they paid me any mind," said McVey, whose work has also been featured by the Antzl Project, an online gallery hosted by the Longmont-based canvas maker, and in several publications. "About eight weeks later, I received an email from them saying that they loved my photos and wanted me to become a resident artist in their studio."Although interested in art in high school, McVey found himself banned from art classes after a behavioral incident; to this day he insists all he did to elicit the punishment was laugh aloud. He enrolled in photography and print shop, instead, a move that influenced the course of his life."When I lived on Boreas Pass I would hike out to Rocky Point at night and begin what I call the 'trial and error process,' working with different focusing ideas, aperture, time and sensitivity 'til I found some formulas that were really working for me," said McVey. He shoots with a Canon EOS 7D digital SLR using a fast lens that lets in a lot of light for most of his night shots, which involve hiking or driving to a dark place with "headlamps, tripods, thermals and patience.""Composing the scene can be very difficult so I often pre-plan my foreground shots and coordinate the shot based on the phase of the moon (amount of light) and its location in the sky (what is being illuminated). ... Shooting east I encounter problems with Denver's light pollution even from nearly 70 miles away. Anybody can witness this by looking towards the Divide on a partly cloudy night and seeing distant clouds trapping light."Other challenges include getting a tight focus with limited light and keeping the batteries and camera from freezing - not to mention himself. McVey relied on Fielder's book, "Photographing the Landscape: The Art of Seeing" to guide his early experiments. Marie Orlin's Photoshop class at Colorado Mountain College exposed him to Adobe Lightroom, which he uses to process photos, as well as the software skills needed to produce his annual calendar, now in its third year. "John Fielder is my biggest inspiration," McVey said, which is why displaying alongside Fielder's Colorado at the Denver Photo Art Gallery is such a huge honor. The show opened on Oct. 5 and runs six months, with photos to be added regularly. McVey's 2013 calendar, featuring Summit County landscapes both night and day, is available at the Next Page Bookstore in Frisco and Petal and Bean in Breckenridge.Info: www.denverphotoart.com & www.danielmcvey.com
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