Vincent Laforet, one of Canon’s
Explorers of Light, is a Pulitzer
Prize–winning photographer. He
has been commissioned by Vanity
Fair, The New York Times Magazine,
National Geographic, Sports
Illustrated, and Time. He has been
honored numerous times for his
work, including winning three prizes
at the prestigious Cannes Lions
International Festival of Creativity in
2010. Laforet, who is a member of
the Directors Guild and is a DP with
Local 600, is currently working on his
first feature film, a high-tech thriller.
© 2012 Canon U.S.A., Inc. Canon, EOS, and PowerShot are registered trademarks of Canon Inc. in the United States. IMAGEAN Y WARE is a trademark of Canon.
Visit us at learn.usa.canon.com. Vincent Laforet is a compensated spokesperson and an actual user of the Canon product(s) he promotes.
© Vincent Laforet
I took this shot alone at night in Death Valley, California, which truly feels like another planet. It’s like being on Mars.
I was on a commercial shoot for Grey Advertising and had been shooting the incredible landscapes of the valley both
during the day and at night, and I decided to shoot some frames for myself. I made this image with moonlight during
a long exposure, having placed a car at the end of the road with headlights aimed at the camera. I did several variations,
some with the car in motion and ending up in front of the camera, but this one felt the most surreal.
Lighting was part of the challenge: I needed to balance the moonlight with the headlights, because if the lights were
left on too long during the long exposure, they would overpower the sensor. To get this shot, I used a Canon EOS-1D
Mark IV and a Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM lens. The incredible low-light sensitivity of the 1D Mark IV sensors was
key, as was the performance during long exposures. Most digital sensors will quickly start to produce noise during long
exposures and render them unusable. It was also crucial to find the right ISO setting that would capture as much detail
as possible under moonlight, while producing a usable image. The wide aperture of the lens, meanwhile, was essential
to capturing as much of the stars as possible in the sky, as well as the tones and colors visible only by moonlight.
This photo is part of an ongoing series on Death Valley. I like to go out there alone or with a few people, to take a
break from the larger crews I tend to work with on most of my motion productions as a director. It’s nice to go back to
basics once in a while and do everything yourself, as well as to work in total silence. Most photographers take that for
granted—I know I used to!
Laforet used a Canon EOS-1D
Mark IV camera body and a Canon
EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM lens. He
exposed at f/5.6 for 30 seconds at
“The incredible low-light
sensitivity of the
EOS-1D Mark IV
sensors was key, as
was the performance
during long exposures .”