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Archive 2012 · Night at the Museum
  
 
ben egbert
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p.1 #1 · Night at the Museum


On any morning, you will find a herd of photographers lined up in the field behind the Zion Museum for an icon picture.I like to arrive early enough to get some star shots so at 5:30 AM on November 5th, I was first on the scene.

I was able to get some shots with only a half moon for illumination on the foreground and buttes. This worked pretty well as it also left the sky dark enough for the stars to show. I am still perfecting my moonlit photography. The discovery that less moonlight has benefits was a plus.

I still have work to do to perfect this style with noise being the biggest hurdle. The noise may be ok for web, but not for print. But my main question is if itís even worth perfecting? When I show these types, I get the impression that I like it more than the audience. But that could be just poor execution on my part.

So what I would like to know is.

1. Does this style have promise?
2. If yes, what do I need to improve?

Of course any other comments are welcome with my usual disclaimer on composition.

You can see the rest of this series here.

http://ben-egbert-photo.com/?page_id=1119





Vertical

  Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III    EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens    24mm    f/2.8    25s    800 ISO    0.0 EV  






wide

  Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III    Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/15 ZE lens    15mm    f/2.8    20s    1600 ISO    0.0 EV  




Nov 13, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Mister Bean
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p.1 #2 · Night at the Museum


I think it has promise. I'm not an expert here, but it seems that one of the obvious keys to making it work is getting the right balance of brightness between sky and earth. You seem to have done a pretty good job of that here. Overall composition is good. The sky could probably be just a bit more interesting - thinking about some of these type that I have seen and liked, there was generally more color in the sky than is visible here.

Maybe spend some time looking at other photos of the same type to see what it is you like about the ones that seem more successful and then try to work that into your own?

What noise there may be doesn't bother me at all. But I'm perfectly happy to push my D200 (which isn't known for great high ISO noise characteristics) to 1600 or 3200.



Nov 16, 2012 at 09:15 AM
Camperjim
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p.1 #3 · Night at the Museum


To my eyes the colors just don't seem appealing. Since this was shot at night, there is no reality to reclaim. I played with color cast and hue/saturation tools until I got something which I liked.







Nov 16, 2012 at 01:50 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #4 · Night at the Museum


Took a stab at it ...

As always, S&P to taste.









Nov 16, 2012 at 02:26 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #5 · Night at the Museum


Mister Bean wrote:
I think it has promise. I'm not an expert here, but it seems that one of the obvious keys to making it work is getting the right balance of brightness between sky and earth. You seem to have done a pretty good job of that here. Overall composition is good. The sky could probably be just a bit more interesting - thinking about some of these type that I have seen and liked, there was generally more color in the sky than is visible here.

Maybe spend some time looking at other photos of the same type to see
...Show more

I may not be a pioneer, the Ansel Adams Moonlight Hernandez comes to mind, but I am not seeing many of these in this style. What we usually see is milky way or star trail shots which normally require no moon and a very dark sky. Sometimes they light paint the foreground. What I am going for is landscape using moonlight and long exposures for light.

There is no human experience for this so its difficult to decide on how bright to get the sky. If you want stars, the blacker the sky the better I think.

I am working on a balance between foreground brightness and sky darkness. Part of it has to do with the phase of the moon and the reflectance of the foreground. The other has to do with exposures.




Nov 16, 2012 at 04:11 PM
 

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ben egbert
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p.1 #6 · Night at the Museum


RustyBug wrote:
Took a stab at it ...

As always, S&P to taste.



That's the general idea, seems a bit over processed for my taste, but you get that the sky ought to be very dark here and almost black.

I have some another from my Zion trip that has more exposure and thus a lighter sky. It has a different look and could be presented almost as a standard predawn landscape albiet with stars.

Since we never see such things with our eyes, finding a pleasing sky color/darkness is part of the learning curve.

It seems intuitive to me this style calls for a softish look.



Nov 16, 2012 at 04:16 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #7 · Night at the Museum


Camperjim wrote:
To my eyes the colors just don't seem appealing. Since this was shot at night, there is no reality to reclaim. I played with color cast and hue/saturation tools until I got something which I liked.



Hi Jim, yes, I purposely made that first sky dark when I processed using hue sat as well as a layer with multiply. I would eventually like to get it dark enough to show a milky way, but not sure that's even possible when the moon is up. I am going to need to try at various phases to find out. But getting to a dark area is not easy. Zion is one such, but around my home I would have a mighty long drive to get away from light pollution.

On the other hand, the look you got is more like a predawn look. I may show one I got the next morning. I had it all ready to show but sensed low interest so I put it on the back burner.

You may notice the second image is lighter. Still experimenting.

Edited on Nov 16, 2012 at 09:17 PM · View previous versions



Nov 16, 2012 at 04:20 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #8 · Night at the Museum


Softer ...







Nov 16, 2012 at 04:30 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #9 · Night at the Museum


Better. This shot has some star trails, the shutter speed was a bit long for the focal length. Also f2.8 limits the DOF and vignettes pretty bad.

I am going to get a 16-35 f2.8 which may allow better settings. I returned the Zeiss 15 f2.8 that I used for the second image. It is perfect for star shots, but too expensive and hard to use for regular landscapes. UWA needs shift. I used my 17TSE f4 the next morning. A bit slow, but near perfect wide open.

I think I can let the foreground get a bit darker. All we really need is some shadow detail.

I am thinking that you used more contrast here.



Nov 16, 2012 at 04:45 PM





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