leifurh: I put this where the photo of Kirkjufell was originally posted - guess I might as well put it here as well.
The photo appears to be taken from the vicinity of the village of Grundarfjörður looking north-west towards Kirkjufell (which I have climbed, it's a great adventure!). Where you would expect to see the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper (along with Polaris to mark North) the photo has a bright mass of stars running vertically through it which appears to be the Milky Way (not a prominent feature of the Icelandic night sky I'm afraid!).
For this to happen the Earth's axis would have to slant by a number QUITE a bit larger than the current 23.5° (my crude maths tell me that the ecliptic cannot rise higher than (90°-64° = 26°) + 23.5% = 49.5% and should of course be seen to the south, not the north (and presumably running west-east, not north-south).
Whatever you're trying to say, this was the way the stars were. Have a look at the raw files.
Sessility: What really annoys me about the first photo is that it's so obviously a composite (the reflection doesn't match the stars in the sky). I know the technical reasons for it (light level of sky vs. foreground, and long shutter speed needed), just saying that I find it quite distracting.
It's a vertical pano and the reflection matches the sky. Sorry to disappoint.
rrccad: Pardon me for a dumb question. how'd you shoot this on a A7R in March 13th of 2013?
Sorry, it was 2014 indeed :)
Mike Sandman: Excellent explanation, but I'd like to understand why HDR wouldn't work here. I've used in in situations where there was a high level of contrast. The result didn't look like over-cooked HDR, and the details were visible in areas as dark at the room to the left.
Isn't HDR for situations exactly like this?
(However, I'm not sure I could have squeezed off the five or six shots for HDR during the brief time when the sun was peeking through the rafters.)
HDR could work, my point is that this method is far easier, that's all.
Angrymagpie: Thanks for the piece, great educational value! I was wondering how you managed to get rid of the flares? What tool(s) did you use? Did you use the same one(s) to get rid of the flare around the sun star and the one on the left corner?
Thank you Steve, that's very kind.
IvanM: Erez, congratulations on a well thought out shot and technique to match!
I am just wondering how you find the wide angle Canon lenses on the A7R? Particularly the corner sharpness of the lenses as compared to the center...
Thank you Ivan,On the A7R you can see the drop in corner sharpness as compared to the center very well. The 16-35 f/2.8 is known for that. I'll be switching to the f/4 soon.
I just used the eraser to expose the flareless layer underneath. Eraser was used throughout.
Staxxx: Could you please let us know if an ND filter was used for the individual images to get such long exposures although I do understand it was a cloudy afternoon. Thank you.
If I remember correctly, an ND was used (even though it wasn't necessary at all). I probably had the filter setup on from previous shots.
JoEick: Erez, when you get to put your photos up on the most popular photo gear website on the internet, in a format that comes across as just an advertisement for your workshops (clearly obvious), you should expect some flack if your images are not impressive enough. There are many more talented photographers out there who could only dream of getting this type of exposure, let alone every month.
Your techniques and explanations come across as very amateur. It is also very amateur to try to argue with people about why they don't think this is a good photo. It was an OK photo that was made worse with poor processing and composition choices.
You've clearly mastered how to get exposure on the front page every month or so, but you still have a long ways to go before most of us would consider your techniques to be on a professional level.
If you keep telling yourself everything you did was all good, then your success as a photographer might be short lived.
Sorry to be so harsh.
As to 'professional level techniques': I'd definitely love to read an article featuring more advanced techniques than the ones I use. That said, these techniques have brought me this far, and I do get a lot of questions about my methods, and so I write the articles to explain them. No worries about being harsh, you're entitled to an opinion, it's all good.
Well, I'm not sure where you saw I was so sure everything I did was good. I keep saying that I welcome criticism, and I do read and consider every comment, even ones that are clearly meant purely to upset. Nowhere have I treated criticism with disrespect. In this specific case, IMHO, my choices were fine. I fully respect other's opinions, and they may process and compose differently. I can't really understand the problem.As to the advertising of my workshops, if I didn't have workshops I wouldn't be able to shoot full-time and write these articles. People seem to enjoy them, so I think it's an ok deal for everyone. No one is obligated to join the workshops, and they can stick with enjoying (or disregarding, or enjoying to criticize) the free content.
Erez Marom: Hi guys,thank you all for your comments. I appreciate the criticism, but I disagree with some of it. Let me explain myself a bit better:First of all, as some people repeatedly fail to fathom even though I've mentioned it several times before, this article series is NOT an exhibition of my best images. To view my favorites, please go on my website and view the 'favorite' galleries. This series is rather about images on which I have something interesting to say. They therefore have to satisfy several conditions:
Finally, regarding saturation: remember this has a lot to do with the screen, ambient light and surroundings you watch the image in., in addition to your perceiving the image as over-processed after watching the flat RAW output. In any case, this is an internet version- a print version might be handled differently.
Specifically about the choice of dodge/burn LAB color technique: This has been used since it's much more delicate and flexible. People seem to think luminosity selections are the solution for everything, and they are definitely not. In fact, with the masks being 8 bit, they can seriously harm images and so I try to avoid them when possible. In addition, why not show a different technique to the ones I already talked about? These articles are meant to educate and show new options for post processing. Why on earth would I do everything the same again and again - wouldn't that bore my readers?
As to composition:Again, I appreciate the comments and critique, and welcome good and bad opinions. In this case I'm very much rock solid on my choice of composition, for several reasons. Even though the mountain on the right might add to the image, the central mountain range appears to 'face' left. Had I put it too much in the center of the image, it would ruin the balance. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, one needs to consider more than just the main objects: if I had included more of the right side, the prominence of the circular cloud formations would be compromised, and that's a big no no for me here. The main thing in the image is the compositional balance, not only left to right but up/down. The cloud formations work with the sand lines in a way that wouldn't exist had I used a broader crop. Believe me, if it wouldn't cut the mountain on the right of the final image, I'd have cropped it even tighter.I hope that explains my choices here.
1. They have to be appealing images. Perhaps not the world's top images, but good ones.2. They have to include something worth discussing, e.g. special location, conditions, composition, technique etc. The image in this article is worth discussing in terms of composition and technique, in my opinion.3. The articles need to be diverse in subject matter and visuals, and discuss something new every time. If I only stuck to my best images, I might not be able to discuss interesting techniques. You (hopefully) get the idea.To satisfy these conditions, I choose the images which will supply the most interesting articles, and not necessarily my absolute favorites. I hope this explains my choices, and relieves some of the commentators' torment :)
Hi guys,thank you all for your comments. I appreciate the criticism, but I disagree with some of it. Let me explain myself a bit better:First of all, as some people repeatedly fail to fathom even though I've mentioned it several times before, this article series is NOT an exhibition of my best images. To view my favorites, please go on my website and view the 'favorite' galleries. This series is rather about images on which I have something interesting to say. They therefore have to satisfy several conditions:
40daystogo: Hi Erez, when taking multiple shots for a panorama, why did you take each of them vertically? Why did you not shoot in landscape-mode (rather than portrait mode) - which might have let you achieve the panorama with less shots? I assume it has something to do with minimising distortion or something like that? I've done a few panoramas and it seems like a hit or miss whether I achieve a balanced final stitched image that is not distorted out of recognition. Perhaps you can comment on the technique used to arrive at a nicely balanced panoramic stitch.
Hi,the first reason is indeed maintaining low distortion. Another reason is having large margins, for more freedom when cropping.
email@example.com: Preferred the image before it was cropped. I don't think there was "way too much foreground" in the pre cropped image. The final image has dramatic light but is not quite compelling as a composition, in my opinion.
Thanks for posting your image and your thoughts, though.
I compose and crop by feel, I don't really consider rules so it's hard to answer... I guess the centered horizon doesn't bug me, or would bug me less than a larger foreground. It's up to personal taste.
First off, thanks for sharing your photo and technique. What you have is a beautiful piece of art. And then exposing yourself to potential criticism from arm chair quarterbacks (myself included) shows great courage.
Regarding the composition, the rock on the left in the final shot is weak and unappealing. In the original version it has shape and form and personality. In my opinion you've cropped too much of it.
And the final image is a tad too blue. The light in the cloud above should have warmed up the scene a bit. As it stands, that cloud captures our gaze, but only briefly because it doesn't infuse the rest of the photo with it's presence.
Finally, I believe that a perfectly balanced photo sometimes doesn't grab our attention the way an asymmetrically balanced photo would.
Again, big cudos to you and your work and your courage and your sharing your technique and thoughts.
Hi Raz, thanks a lot for the kind feedback!
Just another Canon shooter: Beautiful image but overcooked. The noise in the foreground is excessive, even viewed at 1024 px wide.
There's actually a very similar amount of processing in the Kolmanskop images. I sincerely believe that the fact that you see all of the stages, especially in images taken with a flat output such as the Sony A7R, makes you perceive the final result as over-processed. Had you only seen the final image, the amount of processing wouldn't bother you :)I'll do my best to upload an article about one of the Kolmanskop images soon, I'm sure it will surprise you. In any case, thanks for your comments.
Kim Letkeman: Hmmm ... can't agree at all with the choice of crop or angle. The beach sand is such a dominating element that it needs to be made interesting by creating some angle. Straight on as it is feels wrong to me. I was originally thinking that stepping to the right until the entire rock on the left could be contained and the sand pattern was angled to the front and left diagonally was the right choice. And I still think it would have worked well.
But then I saw the amazing large rocks on both sides, framing the shot in a truly interesting way and think that might have been an excellent image as well. And it would have worked at a longer aspect ratio, i.e. a true panorama. Printed as a tryptic would made it a smashing success I would bet.
But this image does nothing for me other than to confirm for the millionth time that there is a very target rich environment there ...
I see where you're going, but including a much larger portion to the right would have a bad impact on the lines in the foreground. In addition, as I see it, the mountains balance the rock on the left quite well already.