mainger: Very nice work, though I wish there was little more variety of compositions.
Thank you. Perhaps you're right about the compositions, I'll try to get more diversity once I'm back there.
twan: Wow, great pictures. Did you used filters and if yes, which?
Thank you, I often used filters, mostly a 3-stop ND, a 3-stop soft grad and a circular polarizer.
rowlandw: Erez - What lens and how wide was #7 "Legendary Beaches" shot with?
Hi, #7 is a panorama with the 16-35mm, so pretty wide :)
Nik G: Thanks for sharing, please do continue posting such articles.
Sorry if this has been asked before: I think that this specific processing you did in PS could also be done in ACR (local adjustments, sky edges cloning, blacks, contrast curves), right? Is there any specific reason for switching to PS?
Hi Nik,the masking can't be done in ACR.
Hi Guys, Thanks for all your kind comments.If you think this is too much post processing, then:a. remember that the raw file does not represent realityb. if you knew what other photographers do, you'd suffer a stroke :)I'll do my best to submit more interesting articles, as diverse as I can.
Five Piece: Nice shot, Erez. Funny these "Armchair Experts" availing their opinions below never seem to enlighten us with examples of their own photographic prowess in their galleries. Personally, I would ignore this site altogether except there are many exceptional photographers (yourself included, of course) from whom I draw inspiration and ideas, just have to ignore the idjuts, I guess.
Perhaps need to start getting vaccinations for Namibia soon?
Nice to hear from you Greg!No worries, you need a tough skin to be a professional artist.You can email me about Namibia/Lofoten, I'll gladly help :)
Richt2000: Fantastic workflow and resultant image.I, like the original photography try to perfect the image 'in camera' as if it were film to convey a true image (and save on PP time in front of a computer).
However slapping 3 filters in front of the lens will definitely degrade IQ. I understand why the ND Grad and the Polarizer were used, but I don't see the point of the 0.9 ND filter - its not like the water movement needed bluring, and it wouldn't have been too bright to need to bring the shutter speed down... Can the OP explain? Thanks.
BTW 'Flying Snail' - I don't think the horizon is crooked - I think you'll find the far side of the lake is not a straight line, and the mountain is not symmetrical.
Thank you. The 0.9 ND is indeed unnecessary here. It was left from a previous shoot. However, this filter is of the highest quality and hardly damages IQ.
NZ Scott: Interesting stuff. Thanks for posting.
I, for one, would like to see more articles like this.
Thank you, please feel free to take a look at my other articles on DPReview. I'll do my best to submit more interesting and diverse articles, as time allows.
Flying Snail: Horizon is crooked. Not using tilt to correct perspective on a tilt-shift lens seems like a failure, but you'd probably get even more black corners then because of the filter setup.
Horizon is perfectly straight.
jkoch2: My narrative would have gotten no further than: "Stepping onto the ice, a crack rippled under my feet, and down I plunged into the frigid depths."
Since the water was only about 10-20 cm deep, I don't think I would have plunged, only ruined the foreground :)
Vitruvius: I am finding it very difficult to set focus acurratly with night shots and large apertures. You can't just turn it to the infinity end because the lenses go past infinity and the foreground becomes out of focus. Of course the camera can't autofocus most of the time. And the the new lenses aren't designed for manual focus work since rotating the ring just 1mm has a big impact on the focal distance. Lots of time consuming test shot trial and error.
With open apertures you can easily focus on the bightest stars, especially with an f/1.4 lens. I usually remember the 'real' infinity focus point on the lens' scale, and use a small torch (or my cell phone) to set it to this point. It's always easier than you think!
Deardorff: Are the trees and rock formation naturally leaning in the direction we see or is it the wide angle lens that does it?
I correct when I think it's necessary. Here I honestly didn't think it was. Correcting always hurts quality, even if it's negligible.
It doesn't really bother me, plus it wouldn't be 100% corrected anyway and I didn't want to hurt image quality.
Slurcher: Beautiful shot!
At the risk of making myself look like an absolute newbie dick, why isn't depth of field an issue with the foreground at f/2.8?
Brendon's answer is accurate.
peevee1: Would it be worse if instead of 15 sec of exposure, say, 8 sec was used and ISO and noise reduction would be increased - given the smooth surfaces of the sky, detail smearing should not matter as much as smearing due to movement of the aurora?
I think this was the right balance between shutter speed and ISO setting. I wouldn't want to go up to 6400, although I have done it before.
A bit of both...
ljmac: Am I the only one who thinks the original unmodified shot is superior? Indeed, I find I almost always think that when I see these Photoshop tutorials - fake, hyped colour can never look as good as the real thing IMHO.
The unmodified shot looks less like the real thing than does the modified shot, sorry to disappoint :)
baldfox: Nice write up, appreciate the steps in ACR.I was in iceland a couple of weeks ago also shooting the "lights" fantastic experience. I wasn't lucky enough to have snow on the ground, only a gravel area, so foreground interest wasn't as good.. I using a 5D3, 17-40mm @ F5.6, 20secs, iso1250. Worked ok for me ! Tripod, release and "mirror up" a requisite!
Indeed, the snow on the ground makes the shot since it's both more appealing and is lit only by the Aurora. To shoot the lights, I recommend traveling to northern Iceland, where weather is more stable and snow is more probable.
cmj1: In fact, I really hate people "making" scenery photos. While slightly adjusting the exposure seems just fine. Creating a master piece by distorting the image, adding something that wasn't there is totally unforgivable... Ask yourself why you are not at the right place at the right time.
Forgive me, but in Iceland, she has a very very favorable environment for shooting the stars.
Let me get this straight - you claim that the different shots could not have been taken one right after the other?And you also claim that any panorama should not be shot since it's 'merging'?
wansai: Hi Eraz, good guide but may I ask why you opted for an HDR type of processing over using a single RAW and adjusting black, shadow, white & highlights in the RAW editor?
I'd imagine you could get a similar image. My only guess would be you wanted to avoid noise or detail loss from the darker shadow areas?
Hi,there's no way I'd get the same quality from one file, not even close, for exactly the reasons you've mentioned.Erez