Light Pollution

When you live in a city or urban area, you forget just how many stars are visible. This image was taken in the Alabama Hills, at the foot of Mount Whitney in California.  I was there assisting Gary Hart on an Eastern Sierra workshop.

It was a completely moonless night and the group was there to do Light Painting on the ominous granite shapes in the area. My job was to paint the target with my flashlight for about 15 seconds.   After I was done, folks left their lenses open for 10-20 minutes to capture star trails behind the granite.

For fun, I just started pointing my camera straight up in the air and experimenting with exposures.  This image is the result of that.  I used my Canon 24-70 f/2.8L at 25mm.  The exposure was 30 seconds at ISO 1600 with an aperture of f/2.8.  I kept the exposure at 30 seconds to minimize star trails.  I ran the image through NoiseWare and the made two copies of the original background layer in Photoshop CS4.  I set the blend mode, on those new layers, to Screen and then added an adjustment layer to bring the black level back down.

While the resulting image still has some noise issues, due to shooting at ISO 1600, it’s quite usable when printed to 12″ x 18″  All in all, it was a fun experiment.

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