SteemitPhotoChallenge Entry #2 - Entropic [Long Exposure Challenge] Astrophotography

in photography •  last year



This isn't a super recent photo, taken in June this year. However it is one of my most favorite images i have ever created and i just wanted to share it with the community. Technically this was the biggest challenge i have set myself photographically so far and i'll post the story below to give you some insight as to the creation of this image.

Thanks for viewing!

3 Hours of shooting, 14 days(Well around 60-70hours) of post processing, a month of planning and here we have it.

This is 106 images, shot at 50mm and stitched into one big panorama.
4m wide and 2.1m tall. (Technically not a panoramic by ratio but meh)

f/3.5 10seconds ISO 3200 Canon nifty 50mm prime lens.

Foreground and Lighthouse ruins illuminated using Low Level Lighting.

I found this spot a month prior to this shoot and did a few test shots after an attempt to shoot another location was foiled by high tide.
It was super spooky being here by myself, something about the ruins as normally I am ok at night but when I found this place I was really jumpy.
I returned for the shoot with my partner on the premise she would be helping me with lighting (which she did) but also keeping me company ☺
We read all the placards and signs about the place when we were leaving and found that there had been many deaths here and the one that stood out was the lighthouse keeper being eaten alive by a shark in front of his son on the rocks below. The spookiness may have had something to do with all of that!

I’m stoked I was able to do this in just one night of shooting, after my first 3 attempts to stitch it had failed I was thinking I would have to go back and shoot again. I found that Photoshop is pretty useless when it comes to stitching images this large and decided to try some freeware stitching programs. I started with PTGui but their free version is kinda rubbish and they put a watermark on your images…. Scrap that…
Next I tried HUGIN and at first was pretty lost as to how to use it effectively but after a couple of quick online tutorials it seemed pretty straight forward so I gave it a go and found it pretty easy to use on a basic level. And it did a pretty good job too first time round. (It took about 3 hours to stitch them all together.)
So I started editing this image only to find that HUGIN had used images with the stars out of focus on the layers closest to the horizon... No good. Will have to try again.
Did this about 5 times trying different settings with no luck, couldn’t find any info on the web of how to fix the problem... So as ya do I just started experimenting.
Started off by cropping the out of focus stars from the horizon images, nope didn’t like that and ended up with white bands where the cropping had occurred.
Next I tried colouring the cropped areas different colours… nope, definitely not the way to go. Now I had a rainbow across my horizon. Note each of these attempts has taken another 3 hours or more!

I should add, I also have images of the horizon with the stars in focus. I shot images with the stars and foreground in/out of focus.

So finally I find that I can turn certain images on and off in the preview in HUGIN after aligning the images. SWEET! So now I can see what images line up where and what leaves holes. AWESOME! Now we’re getting somewhere.
So I delete the photo that I don’t want and after a couple more attempts I have a stitched pano with the all the stars on the horizon in focus. Looking good! WOOHOO!
So these were shot on the 20th of June and on Saturday I finally had an image that was right!!! FEW! So no more re-shooting! Time to edit.
In the meantime I’ve been playing with my post processing on some of the failed pano’s.
So in the end I did three versions (post processed) of the final image and the last I did is the one I am most happy with and is the one you are looking at. Obviously.

This has been a great process and has taught me heaps, I feel I can stitch just about anything together now and excited to learn even more about HUGIN and I’m pretty certain I’ll be doing all my stitching with it from now on.

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That's awesome first time I see this star trail's
Nice picture great photography. Following you. Upvote you.



This is sooo awsome! You should have won the weekly contest. So much hard work... and beauty in that photo.

Congratulations with your second place :D

This post received a 3.3% upvote from @randowhale thanks to @benfenson! For more information, click here!