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Inside the Archway



St James Church, Stone Store Basin, Kerikeri. NZ, nestling under the Milky Way arch

St James Church, Stone Store Basin, Kerikeri. NZ, nestling under the Milky Way arch


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Contest Finalist in Creative Compositions Photo Contest Vol3
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Monthly Pro Vol 17 Photo ContestTop 20 rank
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15 Comments | Report
PandoricaPhotography
 
PandoricaPhotography January 03, 2016
This is so unbelievably perfect.
headstandphotography
 
headstandphotography January 17, 2016
I wish I took this one..
philvriend
 
philvriend February 01, 2016
Stunning! Love it. Wish I could manage light like you have in this shot. Wow!
Jordanho
 
Jordanho February 01, 2016
fantastic work beautiful night light
pmjfloyd
 
pmjfloyd February 10, 2016
Nice capture!
bradolson
 
bradolson February 10, 2016
Wow! What a great image, well done!
Elaine55
 
Elaine55 February 10, 2016
such a beautiful composition, wonderful light.
josiem Platinum
 
josiem February 11, 2016
just awesome photography!
VictorMFernandes
 
VictorMFernandes February 11, 2016
Well done!!! Amazing!!!
derrynchristinewhyte
 
derrynchristinewhyte May 17, 2016
Join the conversation. Add a comment or even better, a critique. Let's get better together!
sherimaevowell
 
sherimaevowell May 17, 2016
Oh my gawd...I love this photo.
chrispegman
chrispegman November 22, 2016
you know what - forgive my dropping my usual humility ... meee tooo!!
nelwynortiz
 
nelwynortiz May 18, 2016
absolutely beautiful! composition, lighting and framing couldn't be better. truly amazing to look at
chrispegman
chrispegman November 22, 2016
thanks so much for all that nelwynortiz
barbaramillesrobinson PRO+
 
barbaramillesrobinson November 21, 2016
This photo has so many absolutely stunning features: lighting, color, silhouettes, depth, stained glass reflections...it is amazing!
chrispegman
chrispegman November 22, 2016
ah thank you so very very much for all those observations barbara!
johnboywalton196 Premium
 
johnboywalton196 March 18, 2017
Visually stunning, an absolute masterpiece image. Well captured!!
ninanedelcheva
 
ninanedelcheva February 24, 2018
fantastic
See all

Behind The Lens

Location
I took this photo in Kerikeri, my home town. This church is located in the Stone Store Basin, the so called 'Cradle of the Nation' where modern New Zealand has its origins. I had only been seriously photographing for just over a year when I tackled & shot this scene!
Time
this is a special place for me, so this night was one of my first ever locations for astrophotography. I arrived on site around 11pm on a Southern hemisphere winter August night and did not leave until 12.30 - these days I'm not often that quick at an astro location! As I recall was very grateful for astro photographer buddies I'd talked with online recommending handwarmers which you strap around the lens: if I had not kept my lens warm it would have fogged & this panorama would not have happened.
Lighting
My main character in the scene was to be the stained glass window, but I quickly realised the gorgeous light fanning out over the grass from the light inside. From there, I needed some careful placement to block the main of the inside light, and then took care with exposure to properly capture all the elements. I find it incredible that we can capture the Milky Way - my secondary character in this story - right from within a street-lit town: such is the purity of our land New Zealand & it's urban low light pollution. So - at ISO 6400 & around f/2.8 - I used 15 second exposures for the Milky Way, and settled on a mere 1/125th of a second for the stained glass window (I had taken a dozen or so exposures of the glass to make sure I had this exposure nailed)
Equipment
this roughly 270 degree panorama of 8 original images (edge cropped) was shot with a Samyang 14mm prime lens on a Canon 6D body mounted on a Slik tripod. I am confident I used my Epic Pro Gigapan, but cannot remember for certain! Oh, of course I used those handwarmers I said about above :o)
Inspiration
this locally & nationally known church - one of the oldest in NZ - is just over the river from the house we lived in as our children were growing up. It was also the first church we went to when we arrived in town, so it was a special choice to capture this church for my whole family to enjoy .... I've been overwhelmed by how many are also enjoying it!
Editing
I'm developing a style (from the just over 18 months I've been seriously photographing) that involves much post processing: an image like this has taken me 20 hours before now! Indeed it was nearly a year before I could process this image as I am so new to this & need to learn so much. I have a common workflow which I tend to use for ultrawide astro panoramas: I lens correct one image in Lightroom, apply that to all, stitch them in PTGui, then send to Photoshop for work I cannot do in Lightroom (such as the blending of the stained glass window), before applying finishing touches in Lightroom.
In my camera bag
cleaning cloth & spray & tissue paper!! red light nightlight (doesnt impair your night vision), those handwarmers or even a 'Dew Not' (to stop lens fog), spares of everything, batteries included, remote trigger. Maybe the Epic Pro Gigapan if I'm not travelling any distance (it's heavy). Other than that I never leave home without my Canon 6D + Samyang 24mm prime & lightweight but strong Sirui tripod + K-40 ballhead with RRS nodal slider (helps prevent parallax). I will often also take the Samyang 14mm prime (as I used on this shot), and if I'm out by day or hiking then I'll pack the Canon 70-200mm f/4
Feedback
to fully capture a great (Milky Way) night image with low light you have to have great gear. You'll get results will lesser equipment, but fromtalking with collegues & looking at the results, it's going to be hard to achieve without gear that is known to work well in the photo-harsh environment of the stars. Tech is always improving, so keep an eye out, one maybe we'll be able to get results like this from our cellphones ..... but that would require some gigantic leap of tech! Find somewhere real dark, look on a light pollution map online, some small bits of local light is ok, but the further you get from the city the better your results will be. Waiting up to 2 hours after dark will yield surprisingly better results also - your eyes will tell you its dark/darkest well before that, but wait ... besides, you get to hang out under the heavens, if you're listening, this is very humbling & I find it does the soul good :o)

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