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Stars and Driftwood COP9

Just walking and framing down the beach, like starry starry night and surf lapping to a tune of it's own. Sweet with an evening storm moving off shore not ...
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Just walking and framing down the beach, like starry starry night and surf lapping to a tune of it's own. Sweet with an evening storm moving off shore not on. Used the SEL1018 f-4 at 12mm in full frame mode.
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Contest Finalist in Monthly Pro Vol 24 Photo Contest
Peer Award
Superb Composition
Tanya333 smshaffer veldpraesto dianeperry_3610 aalbjrgjnsdttir IMIKEMEDIA fredsaunders +34
Absolute Masterpiece
Svenergy72 krnaik Zaggnita donaldgbrown eldore ladysaltfire JEAfarm +23
Top Choice
Patsworld rfroman10 podesta llowzz p_eileenbaltz stevelaw johnnapier +18
Outstanding Creativity
carelneljr Hippiechic wendyroske_9600 shelbasic kilpite David-MM kimnikon5500 +10
Superior Skill
2001vermont dj777_100er Mntnapoet Swirl candiscamera lovechazk Obidon +3
Magnificent Capture
StavruDaniel domjdel catherinemelvin steveangelakis Samang lddove FrancoisHorne +1
All Star
shutternerd89 Jonny_Saunders ujan Gilbert KittyM

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A Dry Tree Photo ContestTop 20 class
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Monthly Pro Vol 24 Photo ContestTop 10 class
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Behind The Lens

On Driftwood Beach Jekyll Island State Park Georgia the 5th most romantic beach in America with dark skies at night and beautiful quiet sunrises and mostly calm seas due to an offshore sandbar the reason for the buoy lights on the horizon that guide cargo ships to port, a very long sea and anchor detail.
This was captured May 07, 2016 during the new moon at 02:28 am for the Milky Way Galactic Center appears and rises in the Southeast horizon the night of May 06, 2016 at 11:24 PM and sets or fades to the south at about May 07,2016 at 05:06 AM using PhotoPills to pre-plan the night.
A very nice thing about Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island is that to the north is St. Simons Island and it's city lights are very bright and light up the driftwood and beach at night IF you take a long exposure of 10 seconds or more, otherwise it is quite dark on the beach to the human eye! But the capture of the Milky Way to the south with back lighting from the north works real well in illuminating the driftwood and beach but not interfering with the dark sky with any ground glow bounce off the humid air.
I use the Sony A7s with the Sony SEL1018 in Full Frame mode getting a 12mm to 18mm zoom at a minimum f/4. The A7s is real good at astro photography or just night captures due to big pixels, and to be honest I had no idea of when I got it. I purchased the A7s instead of the A7r because it would capture 5 frames at +/- 3 ev (a 12ev spread) so I could get more detail in sunrises or full moons with foreground doing HDR. But when I read a review and saw a video of a capture of the Milky Way at I had to try it. At full frame 12mm you can expose to 42 seconds so you get more light even though you are slow at f/4 but this was at 30 seconds but the histogram was 3/4 to the right at ISO 6400. I use a Manfrotto tripod with a three way head with tennis balls on each leg as well as rubber boots. I carry my gear in a photographer's vest instead of a backpack that way everything stays dry and I can move about freely and I use a bike, the beach is long and full of different driftwood trees. For Milky Way captures my two favorite lenses the Sony SEL1018 f/4 for 12-18mm full frame and the new Voigtlander 10mm f/5.6 (50 second shots) most will say they are not fast glass BUT you get to take longer shots!!! Also use a camera and lens raincoat to keep blowing sand and salt off the camera AND if June/July bring a clear trash bag to change lenses if needed for a sunrise followed by some wildlife shots in the swamps on you bike ride back to your hotel/campground. Wear dark clothing 1. in case another photographer is out he can delete you 2. Star light is strong and your glow can hurt your shot.
I have no idea the rope that pulls me from a sound sleep (I hate alarms) at 1 or 2 am to walk outside to see if the sky is clear from February to October five days before to 10 days after a new moon, IT JUST Happens!! I plan a capture with PhotoPills and PlanIt! for Photographers for many places then watch the weather long range forecast. This night was a 100 mile trip from my home staying in a hotel for four nights and this was my third night but this night with the Sony SEL1018. One thing most do not know is when the moon rises and sets it will be high tide and when the moon is overhead or underfoot it will be low tide, so this night the moon had set and was going underfoot so the tide was going out this night giving way to more beach. The storm with lighting moving off shore was a surprise but a gift. Inspiration??? The view and the storm!! I am a Walkabout Photographer, It takes one minute for a 30 second shot with noise control on, so in 20 minutes I can set up behind 10 different trees moving from one to another with the same Milky Way view above them. I will cover the same area back and forth all night with a higher in the sky Milky Way, all most all photographers stay within 50 yards of the entry path with a loaded backpack!!!
Normally I use Lightroom for speed but this image I used Capture One Pro 9 because I get white not blue stars and more of them and the colors are more real of the night sky. It is also offered to Sony camera users for free or the Pro for Sony only $50 vs $299. It is really no different than using the brush in Lightroom but you get more options. With this one I just used the background and two gradients one from above (using the color temp of 3890 for the Milky Way) and one from below (just to brighten the beach a little). The SEL1018 has some purple fringing in the lower corners in low light but COP9 does a great job controlling it (but now I use the Sony on camera app "Lens Compensation" to control while capturing)
In my camera bag
I do not use a bag but wear a Photographer's vest that is baggy and with lots of pockets. For Milky Way it is a night shot and only one lens is needed, I have used many others, and on the ocean and salt air you do not want to be changing a lens. But I pack the A7s (1 spare battery) with the SEL1018 f/4, 2 tactical 900 lumen small flashlights, 3 headlamps red/green filters, Lens cleaner and cloths, Sony wired remote and the new VELLO ShutterBoss II RC-S211 for Sony for that 50 second shot, and Sony Wireless shutter control, Camera Raincoat, a clear plastic bag to change a lens in (if needed), A Ipad to view weather apps/planner apps (never use the phone save the juice you may need it), back pockets lightweight rain gear pants/jacket, 2-3 bottles of water (long nights), Laminated shutter/ISO/f/stop chart marked for 3 and 5 frames at 2 ev and 3 ev for a HDR type capture if needed.
The best tools are the PhotoPills app (iOS) and the PlanIt! for Photographers iOS and Google, SkySafari app iOS. Best website for gear Ideas Before going out and getting expensive gear or cameras experiment with your Camera and kit lens, they have used APS-C sensors for years with great success just remember 500/1.5 or 1.6 x lens mm to get your max time for exposure. If you go high in ISO Lightroom is great for noise reduction but always use in camera noise control also. Also trust your camera's aperture mode just adjust ISO for that 30 second shot, but in manual mode alway look at look at histogram for a 3/4 to the right graph because in the field the bright image on back of the camera may look bright enough but that is with night vision adapted eyes and remember shoot in raw there are so many adjustments to brighten/darken. If in a dark area practice lighting up your foreground with a light for just a few seconds and for lighthouses a black index card to put in front of lens when the light shines your way. If you do HDR type shots (at different shutter speeds) get rid of hot pixels or grey pixels by changing the date on the camera by a couple months turn off and on then back on the then return to correct date and again off and on this remaps your pixels and when doing bracket shots camera noise control is off and you do not need to clone the red spots out (make it a routine every night before going out). The Milky Way galactic center rises in the southeast in Feb to May, South Jun/Jul/Aug/Sep, South to southwest oct/nov BUT goes horizon to horizon overhead. Just Have FUN!!!! I Did...

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