Adrian Tung: Curious about the reason behind your post processing method, why you prefer using a destructive method (i.e. using the eraser to actually delete parts of the layer), instead of doing it non-destructively via layer masks?
Hi Adrian,well, you do have a point. However, I saw no point in doing anything even marginally more time-consuming since it was very clear which areas I needed to delete in every layer. In a more complicated or problematic project, I'd use layer masks.
JamesF168: first off great article, I have a newb question.
I know this is a 'prime' lens but the angle of view doesn't appear to change at all. I would have expected a small change if you go through the whole range of focus. I don't have a prime lens so maybe someone can educate me as to why the angle of view doesn't change? apologies.
The difference is just to small to see at this size.
Greg VdB: As per usual a very informative post, Erez! I've never done focus stacking, but if I ever stumble upon a scene where it's necessary, your step-by-step description will definitely be of great help.
About the photo now. First of all, I want to state clearly that it's a gorgeous shot, and that I fully appreciate the difficulties that had to be overcome to be able to take it. But... (yes, a "but") Somehow the composition doesn't really draw me into the image. I agree with you that the ice balances nicely the mountains and sky, but still it feels "flat" to me. Considering the ice cold waters and fast moving aurora (nicely visible across the different shots btw), the composition is probably the best possible, but my perfectionistic nature would have liked to see the horizon moved away from the center. Just to suit my curiosity, I took the liberty of changing the perspective in photoshop, and would be happy to know your thoughts on this: http://www.pbase.com/gbleek/image/156940865/original
Hi Greg,Thanks for your words. I couldn't really get any closer to the ice, and even if I did, it would probably be flatter and lack detail. In any case, the purpose of the article isn't "look at this awesome shot" - I have better shots from that evening. This is an article about stacking with an open aperture at night, and that's what's important about using this specific shot.
Annie66: Great set of photos. #2 is amazing to me. It shows nature as powerful and a little scarey, but tender at the same time with the rose light on the mountains. What equipment were you using?
Thank you Annie.I was using my Sony A7R, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II, Heliopan and Lee filters.
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...