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

Buffalo-Milky-8bit-tiff

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.

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 =)

Hello Capture One Goobye Lightroom

Changing photo editing software. Holiday print sale

Don’t worry this is not going to be a big rant on anything Adobe, but I am switching over from Adobe products to 3rd party platforms. I have used Adobe for so many years now and it’s inevitable that other software makers would come up with something to compete with Adobe, but after Adobe’s switch to a subscription based operation (even though Adobe is treating it as more of a contract than a subscription ) I am not too fond of it after nearly a year of usage. Of course the 3rd party platforms I have switched over to are, in reality, not exactly newcomers neither, as Capture One in one form or another has been around longer than Lightroom.

new photoeditor

I know it’s going to be a learning curve working with new programs and going to take a bit to get the hand of them, but so far I am really liking these 3rd party. With Capture One the largest learning curve so far is the importing of images, other than that it seems to be very similar to Lightroom for tools with several other tools added that Lightroom doesn’t have. I’ll go over them in a later post as well once I get experience using the tools

As for Photoshop. I am working on another program which I will go into depth in another posting as I am just starting that one. It shouldn’t be too difficult as it seems to be laid out exactly like photoshop.

The biggest hurdle to overcome is the integration that Adobe products had with each other, something that separate 3rd party software do not have. I am sure I will find something to work though.

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50% off sale

How would you like to have art like the one above hanging on your wall at home or in your place of business?

Well I am holding a 50% off sale on prints and Canvas Wraps until the 16th of December. That’s only a couple days left so hurry up. This is for only Prints and Canvas Wraps it does not include gallery floats or Acrylics. They are still perfect display pieces for your business or your home. go to my website for more information and to see a complete collection of photos.

 

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Patronage

I am also working on a patronage program. I will be releasing that soon with a video, so stick around.

 

Cloudy All Week

so the forecast for my region will be mostly cloudy and chances of snow until Monday so there won’t be much of that astrophotography taken this week, but here are a couple from the past couple of weeks.

StarStaX__MG_1680-_MG_1747_gap_filling_MG_1426-2

Again plenty more photos are available on my website: http://paulscoloradophotography.com