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Sandstone Arch Meets Milky Way Skies
One of the highlights of my 2013 training schedule was the Night Photography Workshop I ran in Arches National Park in late August/September. The conditions were awesome and the students were a lively bunch that added a lot to the experience.
In this image taken more for marketing purposes, I got positioned under Delicate Arch and looked back toward the northern end of the Milky Way. With Perseus, Cassiopeia and the Andromeda Galaxy in view, I made sure to get in position to have the thicker clouds of the Milky Way crossing near the fragile elbow of Delicate Arch.
I really enjoy shooting the core of the Milky Way in the summer months but I've also learned that the northern skies
hold a lot of nighttime treasures. In this view, my eye gets drawn to the Andromeda Galaxy first, even before constellations Perseus, and Cassiopeia. Then, the constellation Cygnus is positioned higher up in the band of Milky Way stars seemingly trying to hide behind the arm of Delicate Arch.
With dark skies (and bright stars) in southern Utah, I found a single exposure to be enough to adequately capture the scene - only with a little added light painting for the foreground. So I dialed in my settings and with my Brinkmann Dual Xenon Spotlight, I used a Light Paint Spike down low and to the far right. I tried both sides and found that painting from the right side gave the best shadows & depth on the foreground ridges.
"How To" Article" & Tutorial: How Do You Light Paint A Starry Night Photograph?
Product Review: Brinkmann Dual Xenon Spotlight
While I did only shoot one exposure for this image, I used a technique called double-raw processing where I brought two versions into Photoshop from Lightroom - one significantly lower in exposure than the other. This allowed me to blend the two versions together in way that toned down the bright foreground and balanced it (to some degree) with the background stars.
Camera Body - Nikon D800 Digital SLR Camera
Camera Lens - Nikon Fisheye AF Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D Autofocus Lens
Tripod Head - FEISOL CB-50DC Ballhead with QP-144750 Release Plate
Tripod Legs - FEISOL Elite CT-3472 Rapid Tripod Legs
Remote Trigger - Vello FreeWave Micro Wireless Remote Shutter Release for Select Nikon DSLRs
Light Painting Flashlight - Brinkmann Maxfire Dual Xenon Spotlight
Exposure Settings - Single Exposure Image
Shutter Speed: 30 seconds
December 14th, 2013
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