Friday, February 20, 2015

This is my newest composition, it is entitled "Ascension." I captured this composition under the brightest and deepest Milky Way that I have ever witnessed in my life during a recent trip to Natural Bridges National Monument in south central Utah about a week ago.

This night was a beautiful evening that I got to share with my dog and my muse, the Dude. And I think that this photograph does manage to give the scene justice for what I saw with my own eyes...which is difficult at times for a photographer to translate from what is actually seen into what is actually captured by their camera lens

This was taken both before and some time after (I explain this more below) my other image of the same natural bridge in southern-central Utah (my previous image is called Owachomo and can be seen directly below this post). This is very much a similar capture, except I stepped back from the edge of the pool about 10 feet to create closure with the pool of water at the bottom of the composition which also creates a bit more of a wider view of the entire scene as well...

I consider this one as the expressionistic version and the previous one as the impressionistic version. For this composition, I used the stars more boldly and aggressively to create a different mood and bring out other stronger emotions. This one is not soft and subtle like its predecessor--this one is more vivacious, dynamic, and resonating. Both taken together, the two different compositions really evoke quite separate moods of mine under this spirited sky on this particular night.

Like all of my recent images, without planning, this composition could not have happened (unless someone was just crazy lucky). The correct conditions were absolutely perfect for this image to be possible and it will be quite some time before all of those wide-ranging variables align once again. This is yet another example of what I call "Planned Chance" in photography,which is the title of my upcoming book on photography due out sometime this fall of 2015.

There was a perfect alignment a week ago of a deep and dark Milky Way over top of Owachomo Bridge with close to a new moon cycle under crisp cold cloudless skies (gonna be a long while before it aligns overtop to the due north like this again) winds what-so-ever to keep the trees sharp...there still is water in the big pool to its south down below in the dry wash that will dry up soon without more rain....pre-scouting to find this elevated vantage point about 20ft above the pool to capture deeper reflections...and cold conditions to help limit some of the color noise pollution in the image (it was 20°F and I was freezing my rear off!)...

Result: A vivid reflection of the stars and Milky Way in the pool, along with the dark shadow of the bridge reflecting in the pool, and then a giant and vigorous Milky Way up above the natural bridge.

However, this ethereal image would NOT be impossible to capture in just a single framed exposure. To create this composition, I had to manually blend three separate images. Each were taken during the time span of about an hour, each with a different exposure. Because the images were taken with such a gap of time between each and at varying camera settings, Photoshop couldn't automatically photomerge the 3 images, so I had to go about the tedious and meticulous process of blending these together manually. It has taken me about 5 days to process this composition, with me having to walk away from it at times during periods of frustration. But alas, it is now complete, and you can witness my efforts here now for yourself. The first image was taken of the bridge and rocks; the second was used to capture the sky and get the Milky Way as deep and dark as I could; the third was to capture a reflection in the water of the stars as richly as I could. The result of this blending created this vibrant portrait view panoramic composition you see before you at about a 1:2.5 ratio.

I hope you enjoy this image as well as my efforts here to create an entirely different feeling in this composition. This evokes emotions that are quite different from my last similar composition of this same spot on this same night.

Camera settings were slightly different for each composition, but all were shot at 24mm. The ISO, f/stop, and shutter speed varies on each. The exposure on the rocks and natural bridge was ISO-100, f/8, for 1/13 sec taken right around sunset; the exposure on the sky was ISO-1250, f/1.4, for 15 seconds; the exposure on the pool was ISO-2500, f/1.4. for 13 seconds...

I hope this message and image find you well.

D. " Bodhi "

#Dolica #LeeFilters #Nikon #D800 #Nikkor #24mm #BodhiSmith #Utah #NaturalBridges #Stars #MilkyWay

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