The pines and sagebrush landscape of the summit of Mount Kobau are illuminated by the light of just the stars and Milky Way.
This collection of images from Monday night, July 28, captures the night sky above and the land below in classic “nightscapes.”
I took all of these with a camera on a static tripod, with no tracking system involved here. All are about 40-second exposures at ISO 3200 to 6400 with a fast 24mm lens at f/2.5 on a Canon 6D.
However, for the image above I composited two exposures: a shorter 40 second shot for the sky and a longer 1 minute 40 second shot for the ground. I used Photoshop’s Quick Selection tool to make a rough selection of the ground, then the Refine Mask and Smart Radius tool to refine the edge to precisely mask the sky separately from the ground, for individual processing.
The top image shows the Big Dipper and a well-timed meteor, at the end of the summit road on Mt. Kobau, near Osoyoos, BC.
This image takes in the Big Dipper at right pointing down to Arcturus at left. I used Photoshop’s Content Aware Fill to neatly eliminate a power pole and wires.
Looking southwest reveals the Milky Way above the sagebrush and pine trees. This is a single exposure, with the ground processed with Shadow detail recovery to bring out the starlit ground.
This image, taken about 2 a.m., records the Pleiades star cluster rising down the end of the summit road, with Capella at left. It is a dual-exposure composite: 40 seconds for the sky and 1m40s for the ground.
I gave a talk at this year’s Mt. Kobau Star Party on how to shoot these kinds of nightscapes, illustrated with some of these images shot on site the night before. Very nice!
– Alan, July 30, 2014 / © 2014 Alan Dyer