Diptych

More to Come?

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Dryptich

Not much else to say other than if I can get a shot with a similar subject matter with the North Star in the center perhaps I will make a Triptych. Your thoughts on these? Should I try more?

I Have Been Doing It All Wrong

How dark are our night skies

So wrong have I been, what an eye opening experience it was for me the other night. My very own perception of things were wrong. What I saw the other night totally changed my perspective and processing techniques.

 

What am I talking about? This

nature photography with the Milky Way

and this

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What is wrong with these?

Almost everything about the skies. They are totally black. Isn’t that what the night sky should look like? Yes and No. To our eyes looking up with no reference our eyes and brain translates a black sky, but using a reference against the sky, we see a whole new perspective of our night sky, it is literally glowing throughout the sky. Try this experiment, and this requires an extremely dark sky with no light pollution. Sorry everyone who lives in a city, you will have to travel a good long distance, and sorry to those living on the east coast of the US or most of Europe, you are going to have to travel for a couple days by car or hours by plane to get skies dark enough. To truly experience this effect you will need to travel to a location that has skies rated at a Bortle Class 2 at minimum. For  more information on the Bortle Classification of sky darkness go here http://www.bigskyastroclub.org/lp_bortle.html. For a link to a listing of the darkest skies go here http://darksitefinder.com/maps/world.html, this site allows you to zoom in really close. Notice how bad Europe and the East Coast of the US is? Now back to the easy provided you are in a dark location experiment, hold your hand up to the sky, notice a very dark void against a brightly glowing sky? That is air glow, the light of all those millions of stars filling the whole sky, your hand literally looks like a black hole against brilliant light (the glow of light pollution does not count, don’t try to be sneaky). Just that experience has changed my whole processing of the night sky, I always attempted to build a contrast resulting in a black sky. NO MORE from me, It is far more impressive to include as best as I can the amazing star glow I am witnessing every time I go out.

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The above shot is a simple silhouette of the foreground. The sky really does glow enough to create a clearly defined silhouette when viewed against it. If you notice to the right of the center of our Milky Way are the planets of Mars and Saturn as the two brightest “stars”.

The other night I was at Vega State Park which is at the foot of Grand Mesa far from the slightest light pollution, the air glow was able to illuminate the ground enough for me to walk without needing a light. The kicker is that we are so accustomed to artificial light, either through light pollution of the cities, house lights, electronic equipment or dash/headlights from our cars it takes a couple of hours for eyes to adjust to that level of darkness, it is best to be at these dark locations from evening and allow our eyes to gradually adjust to the darkening skies naturally to enjoy the benefit of seeing the night like we were intended. I am by no means recommending going on a hike at night or a stroll through the woods at night without the proper illumination, so don’t even think of doing such, but the next time you have an opportunity to spend a night in a truly dark location do it, put up your tent and pull out your camp chair and sit back watching the stars move across the sky, your eyes will clearly make out the dust lanes in our view of the Milky Way

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to view all of these photos at their uploaded size just right click on your mouse and click on “view image”. All above photos were taken about 15 miles north of the tiny town of DeBeque in western Colorado, you still get a slight glow of the city of Grand Junction in each of these images, but the overall sky is rated a Bortle Class 2. Vega State Park, images will be posted in an upcoming blog post, is about 40 miles south of that same tiny town of DeBeque. Again with each photo above Mars and Saturn are also visible to the right of the core of our Milky Way.

So how many of you live in a region that gives you an opportunity to see truly dark skies? How many of you are on the US east coast or Europe? Wanting to experience these amazing dark skies? I am considering doing photo tours and perhaps some workshops coming up in the future if anyone is interested.

Back From Vail

Returning from Vail with new photos in my backyard

A full week in Vail for the Burton US Open, the largest snowboarding competition in the world which attracted the likes of Kelly Clark and Shaun White. Though I did not get any photos while I was there (outside of my phones camera) I still had a great time.

It didn’t take me long to get out for new ones, we had some stormy weather come through today with rain here in the valley and some snow higher up in the mountains, I finally had the opportunity to get out for a few shots

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The ponds behind my place have finally thawed out and a few trees in the neighborhood are getting their leaves, such a pleasant surprise after all that snow in Vail

Recent and a New Discovery

new astrophotography with a discovery

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The above is one of my newest photos. Taken on a high mesa above my current town in western Colorado. Despite the winter Milky Way, as a general rule, being quite faint, this location afforded me some extremely dark skies where the Milky Way is still quite brilliant in the sky. The light pollution of my community is down to the lower right distance. Despite the small light pollution of my current town I discovered in this image a faint deep space object called M33 also known as the Triangulum Galaxy and is faintly visible in the upper portion of the sky just left of the Milky Way. The far more visible and famous M31 Andromeda Galaxy, the closest major galaxy to us, is quite visible just left of the Milky Way just above the center of this photo, it is far easier to see in this photo. The Triangulum Galaxy is so faint that it is almost invisible to the human eye, or at the very least at the extreme reaches of the ability of the human eye_MG_7747M33

the above photo shows the Triangulum Galaxy circled and with it blown up from the original full resolution photo. Ok so not exactly the photo of the century for this object, but it is an exciting discovery knowing that the 14mm Rokinon with a 35 second exposure at 6400 ISO on a 5D II captured such a faint object. What could I do with a long lens and a motor drive?

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Just for those not familiar with M31 or the Andromeda Galaxy, I circled it in the above photo. the Andromeda Galaxy is quite visibile with the human eye, but only in dark locations. Sorry those of you living in urban areas you are going to have to get out to distant suburbs at the very least to see it with your eyes. it is currently to the northwest part of the sky and is visible to just past midnight before setting. The Andromeda is a spiral galaxy just like ours, but is at least twice the size of our own Milky Way, and at only 2.5 million light years distance, it is quite the spectacle during the Autumn and Winter skies, almost as impressive as the Orion Nebula.

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Did I mention the Orion Nebula? M42 also known as the Orion Nebula perhaps the most visible of the star forming nebulae from Earth, it is only 1,300 light years away, practically a neighbor and is about 30 to 40 light years in size. Home to perhaps 1000 forming stars and as recently suggested a black hole. The above photo was taken with my 70-200 lens at the 200mm focal length and 5 second exposure at 6400 ISO again. The only issue I had with getting this was the short exposure, shooting with a 200mm lens gave me little time for an exposure without trailing from the Earth’s rotation the greater the focal length the shorter the exposure before the motion of the stars is recorded, what I had to end up doing was taken several 5 seconds exposures and stacked them together as a smart object. It took some work to align the stars and Nebula with each shot as the objects kept moving in each shot with the Earth’s rotation. The Warp tool in PS works wonders for that. I suppose a motor drive on my tripod would be awesome, but that is sometime into the future.

The following photo is the same scene and location but shooting at 70mm, the Nebula is still clearly visible on Orion’s sword located between the 3 stars in the depressed section of the mountains_MG_1926

Winters Can be Amazing

Even in the cold, it is cool to shoot in the winter.

Sure your fingers and toes may get cold

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but who would argue that some of the best light occurs

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in the frigid winter weather

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whether you are high up

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or down low

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it is always cool to shoot in the winter

looking forward to shooting more of these winter scenes

 

Even though the Patron program ended Prints will always be available.

New Photos with Capture One Pro

What can I say, I am quite impressed with the file handling of Capture One Pro. As I posted last time about my transition from Adobe Lightroom to Capture One Pro by Phase One, at that time I had just started and the verdict wasn’t even deliberating yet. Well it’s come back with it’s verdict. We the Jury find the Program “awesome” on most accounts, the biggest issue I have with it that perhaps I will get the hang of over time is the importing and exporting of files. Other than that Capture One not only completely replaces Lightroom in my work flow, but almost all of Photoshop’s usage as well. I now use Photoshop only for the most advanced and complex work or cleanup and sizing for web.

The above photos were older photos taken a few years ago. All of them reprocessed in Capture One. What impresses me is how it maintains a strong contrast and sharpness straight from the camera. it also provides better and more accurate color renditions too.

 

I also get cleaner and sharper images through Capture One with less post processing with far less noise and artifacting. The above photos are recent photos processed for the first time. All images above were taken with an ISO of 6400, quite impressed how clean these came out with little noise given the high ISO. Photos taken with a Canon 5D MKII, a good camera for night photography but still older sensor technology not quite up to most current DSLR’s such as the Canon 6D or Nikon D800 or Sony A7R II. Perhaps these high performing DSLR’s are not necessary with the file handling of Capture One Pro?  I am not going to get into an argument over that =)

website update at paulscoloradophotography.com

Since I regularly have people contacting me about purchasing prints, I just did an update to my website. I have made it easier to get info about purchasing prints and mounts. Including pricing.

Since I regularly have people contacting me about purchasing prints, I just did an update to my website. I have made it easier to get info about purchasing prints and mounts. Including pricing. I am still searching for a quality e-commerce site to process orders directly online without having to contact me. That will take some time to set up so please be patient, until then you will still have to contact me through my website with the photos you desire. It is also coming up to a new year and my prices are changing, so make sure you take a look at the purchasing page when browsing my website. They are going up quite a bit. Just remember that I do use the highest quality in printing and mounting available, materials and techniques that I am very proud of and will stand behind 100 percent. I also strive to maintain significant originality in all my photos, both in the scenes I photograph and my artistic expression, guaranteeing a unique experience in each one of my photos. To see examples of my work just follow the link to my website and go to galleries, it is an accumulation of many years of photography rolled up into one website, you can also see from page to page how I have evolved both as a photographer and artist over the years. An evolution that will continue through the rest of my life

I recently got out of Denver finally. New photos are coming to my website and Facebook page, so if you haven’t already go to my Facebook page and like it and share it to all your friends and family, I regularly post on Facebook.

Panoramic of Lake Dillon on a windy and cold evening
Panoramic of Lake Dillon on a windy and cold Thanksgiving evening 2014. Panoramic is over 25,600 pixels wide and 5,800 pixels high
Sun Peaking through clouds at a cold and windy Lake Dillon on Thanksgiving 2014
Sun Peaking through clouds at a cold and windy Lake Dillon on Thanksgiving 2014
Blowing snow is visible in this photo taken with my 70-200 F4L at 200 MM. The high mountain peaks are above Breckenridge about 9 miles away, You can see individual ski runs  and ski lifts on the full sized photo
Blowing snow is visible in this photo taken with my 70-200 F4L at 200 MM. The high mountain peaks are above Breckenridge about 9 miles away, You can see individual ski runs and ski lifts on the full sized photo
Some of the last light from Lake Dillon right at the ending of dusk. It was getting dark at that point, the wind started calming down, though it was still blowing hard. The lower light gave me a longer shutter speed which helped smooth the water.
Some of the last light from Lake Dillon right at the ending of dusk. It was getting dark at that point, the wind started calming down, though it was still blowing hard. The lower light gave me a longer shutter speed which helped create a smooth effect to the water.

Remember all photos posted here and all other websites are copyrighted by me, the reproduction and usage is forbidden and is a violation of US and international law. Enjoy these photos as much as you like on my sites but don’t steal them, it takes a lot of work and time to develop my artistic vision, technical skills, as well as time and money to get these photos and process them.