StepIntoTheWoods

The Summer Triangle



The Summer Triangle was shot in rural North Carolina facing a an area of sky with heavy light pollution.

The Summer Triangle was shot in rural North Carolina facing a an area of sky with heavy light pollution.
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Behind The Lens

Location
The Summer Triangle photo was taken from a hillside looking over a horse pasture on a homestead located in a rural area of Rockingham County, NC. The location is my temporary residence while I put most of my effort into seeking an entry level position to start my career in environmental science; however, I am taking advantage of the rural location to practice in landscape photography. I would not be very disappointed if my photography career got a start before my environmental work while staying here.
Time
Not long before taking this photo I had taken my dog for a walk after the blue hour had passed from sunset to assess the clouds. I had been hoping for clear skies shortly after sunset for a chance to capture the Summer Triangle and Milky Way low on the horizon stretching across the pasture, stable, and fencing. After seeing the skies were cloud free, I walked back to the house for my camera bag and tripod. This is one of my first few Milky Way practice shots, and the photo was taken on June 15th, 2015 at 11:12PM.
Lighting
The night view looking eastward suffers from light pollution from the cities of Eden, to the left, and Reidsville to the right, but the light pollution was handled in post processing. Additionally, I had to walk far enough away from a pair of street lamps to keep from casting a shadow from the camera, or over exposing fencing in the foreground. A street lamp on the stable, and another street lamp about 100 yards to the right of the stable produce lighting in the distant foreground. Although the distant foreground lighting is a little blown out, I feel this draws attention to the stable and helps illustrate the gentle down-sloping hill of the horse pasture.
Equipment
The equipment used to take this photo were a Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS DSLR Camera with Rokinon 14mm f2.8 Ultra Wide Lens, Benbo Trekker MK3 Tripod with an Oben PD-117 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head, and a Polaroid shutter release remote control.
Inspiration
Fantastic nightscape photography works have inspired me to practice my own nightscape photography. I am still new to photographing nightscapes, and I practice locally as much as possible in relatively poor night photography conditions because I want to be prepared to make the most out of future situations to take full advantage of travel and camping events. This photo was primarily inspired by my desire to gain experience and knowledge on the process of taking and processing Milky Way nightscapes, but I was also inspired to create an image to share with friends and family to help them find the Milky Way. This photo was taken and processed with the intent to illustrate the stars Vega, Altair, and Deneb that create The Summer Triangle. The photo was shared on my personal social media accounts along with versions including labels of the star names to assist friends in finding the Milky Way on summer nights in the northern hemisphere.
Editing
Since I lack super dark skies for capturing magnificent raw images of the Milky Way, I had to be creative in order to create a fantastic Milky Way photo. To accomplish this task I took four raw images at 2EV intervals with the last image having an exposure time of 30 seconds, and I used ISO 6400 with f2.8 for all photos. An additional three photos were taken with 30 second exposures. I did not want star trails, but I did want to enhance the bright and dark contrast in the Milky Way. To exaggerate the Milky Way I combined my seven raw images into a single HDR master photo, which is also on my ViewBug account. After the master was created with tone mapping to reduce glow from light pollution and saved, I proceeded with luminosity adjustments to enhance the brightness, contrast and color of stars to bring out the Milky Way. Luminosity adjustments were also used to process the foreground of the scene. Additionally, I made an effort to enhance the stars of the summer triangle to make them very apparent.
In my camera bag
I taught my self how to use a Canon Rebel XT, and still have it has a back up, but I have recently started learning to use a Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS DSLR Camera. I cary three lens options being a, Rokinon 14mm f2.8 Ultra Wide Lens, a Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens, and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens. Most of my photos are taken using a tripod, and I always cary a Benbo Trekker MK3 Tripod with an Oben PD-117 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head, and Polaroid Shutter Release Timer Remote Control with extra batteries incase I encounter a great time lapse opportunity. I also carry an extra battery for my camera, along with filters, lens cleaning materials, compass, camera rain cover, LED head lamp, and a "Rite in the Rain" Weatherproof Pen and Spiral photo journal for field notes and quick reference material.
Feedback
Even though I was able to walk out my door to take this photo of the night sky, I had to plan and prepare to go out after sunset and the blue hour had passed, make sure the moon phase was right so no moonlight would prevent capturing the Milky Way, and make sure the weather conditions allowed for a cloud free night to enable the stars to be seen. Planning is essential for night photography, and planning is more important when travel is required to find open views of scenery and the night sky. Learning to scout locations, read weather, and understanding how Earth moves in relation to celestial bodies can enhance opportunities for great photos. Patience and persistence will go along because all the variables will rarely line up perfectly. Do not be afraid to venture out for experimentation, as that is the essential first steps to creating something wonderful.

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