How is this type of photo taken?

8 years 2 days ago #386169 by JeremyS
I'm very interested in night photography, with a lit subject in the foreground, and a night sky lit up with stars/milky way/ star trails.

Very similar to this photo which is a finalist in a recent contest on viewbug.

www.viewbug.com/contests/lifes-largest-m...hoto-contest/4787227

I am very interested in being able to do material such as this but I'm unsure how exactly they are taken. Are they typically light painted, or are they two exposures which have been made into a composite, if everyone could shed light onto this for me, it would be awesome! Thanks.


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8 years 1 day ago - 8 years 1 day ago #386233 by Stealthy Ninja
Very long exposure and minimal light on the building. Often the building doesn't need any light for stuff like this.

Once, in Malaysia, I took a shot on a boat in almost pitch darkness (at a very high iso) all the colours popped out again! I was shocked at how little light is needed to light something given enough iso or enough time.  The light is probably from the moon in that shot you linked.  It wouldn't even need to be a full moon (in fact the full moon would probably make it too bright with such a long exposure. White balance would give it the warm glow.

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8 years 1 day ago #386396 by JeremyS

Stealthy Ninja wrote: Very long exposure and minimal light on the building. Often the building doesn't need any light for stuff like this.

Once, in Malaysia, I took a shot on a boat in almost pitch darkness (at a very high iso) all the colours popped out again! I was shocked at how little light is needed to light something given enough iso or enough time.  The light is probably from the moon in that shot you linked.  It wouldn't even need to be a full moon (in fact the full moon would probably make it too bright with such a long exposure. White balance would give it the warm glow.


Well, simple solution to what I thought was a complex situation! Thanks Stealthy. I'm going to give it a shot in a couple weeks with a very old farmhouse in the area, it might make for a cool photo!


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7 years 11 months ago #386699 by IzzieK
I would be interested in what you can come up with...


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7 years 11 months ago #386758 by JD Imagery
This might help




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7 years 11 months ago #386769 by JeremyS

JD Imagery wrote: This might help



I understand that stuff, however he doesn't explain how he adds in the foreground, thats a problem I'm trying to conquer right now. Does anyone know how this is done in PS?


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7 years 11 months ago #386770 by KCook
Thanks JD, that Steve Perry site is pretty nice!

Kelly

Canon 50D, Olympus PL2
kellycook.zenfolio.com/

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7 years 11 months ago #386836 by garyrhook
He looks like a park ranger. :silly:

He doesn't discuss why 30 second exposures are important.

+1 on the Photographer's Ephemeris. I was just using it last night; t's moving to a browser-based tool, FYI. Good advice on the locking remote release. Extra credit for using a lavalier microphone.

You will hear him mention the foreground shots at the 4:34 mark. He takes separate shots at dusk, while there's still some light. You then align that with your finished composite and mask it in.

If you are unfamiliar with it, google for "photoshop layer alignment" to learn how, even though he uses StarStax for it this work. If you are unfamiliar with masking, it's time to learn.

I see he was in Nevada for these captures.


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The following user(s) said Thank You: IzzieK

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7 years 11 months ago #386837 by JeremyS

garyrhook wrote: He looks like a park ranger. :silly:

He doesn't discuss why 30 second exposures are important.

+1 on the Photographer's Ephemeris. I was just using it last night; t's moving to a browser-based tool, FYI. Good advice on the locking remote release. Extra credit for using a lavalier microphone.

You will hear him mention the foreground shots at the 4:34 mark. He takes separate shots at dusk, while there's still some light. You then align that with your finished composite and mask it in.

If you are unfamiliar with it, google for "photoshop layer alignment" to learn how, even though he uses StarStax for it this work. If you are unfamiliar with masking, it's time to learn.

I see he was in Nevada for these captures.


Will photoshop layer alignment work to put the foreground in detail or does that have to be done manually, if it has to be done automatically what works best, if it is manually, what works best? We're getting to the root of my problem :D


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7 years 11 months ago #386853 by garyrhook

Takennnn wrote: Will photoshop layer alignment work to put the foreground in detail or does that have to be done manually, if it has to be done automatically what works best, if it is manually, what works best? We're getting to the root of my problem :D


I see we are discussing a new skill. All righty then.

(Using the video for an example) he locked his camera down and did not move it. This implies a good tripod, with weights, a good stiff head (:blink: ) to hold the camera steady and immovable, and getting there early to set up, while there's still light.

His foreground shots will then be framed in precisely the same way as his sky shots. Nothing to do there. However, PS can help overcome any problems you  might have if you don't have shots perfectly coaligned at shutter release time.

That said....

Alignment will not bring in the foreground interest to composite it with the background. To do that you must use a layer mask, which essentially a gray-scale mapping that applies to your layer: areas that have brightness in the mask are seen, areas that are darker in the mask are not seen. Many masks are simply black and white.

You put your foreground layer above your background layer, select that layer in the layers panel, then add mask to it by clicking on the little gray rectangle with the white dot at the bottom of the layers panel. Or add a "pixel mask" in the Masks panel. If you click directly on the mask icon in that layer, you can now paint onto the mask. Use a brush to do this. (You can toggle visibility of your mask by alt-clicking on the mask icon.)

Paint over where your foreground is, and it should be revealed. from the masked layer.

Load 2 images into PS, combine as layers in a single document, and experiment to learn more.

Hope this helps.


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7 years 11 months ago #387339 by Mick.at.CameraBits
My own preference is to "auto-align" layers and then choose the "lighter color" blending mode between any number of layers.  This will pick the brightest pixel for any spot on the image.   Then I can paint darkness back in with a layer mask if I need to.   (this is how I can shoot a car with a single flash in multiple spots and make it seem like I have 7 lights on it :-) 


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7 years 11 months ago #387373 by JeremyS

Mick.at.CameraBits wrote: My own preference is to "auto-align" layers and then choose the "lighter color" blending mode between any number of layers.  This will pick the brightest pixel for any spot on the image.   Then I can paint darkness back in with a layer mask if I need to.   (this is how I can shoot a car with a single flash in multiple spots and make it seem like I have 7 lights on it :-) 


Awesome, that is another method to try, when you mention the "Lighter color" blending mode, you mean in PS the Lighten blending mode? Or is it something else. Thanks a lot!


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7 years 11 months ago #387394 by garyrhook

Takennnn wrote:

Mick.at.CameraBits wrote: My own preference is to "auto-align" layers and then choose the "lighter color" blending mode between any number of layers.  This will pick the brightest pixel for any spot on the image.   Then I can paint darkness back in with a layer mask if I need to.   (this is how I can shoot a car with a single flash in multiple spots and make it seem like I have 7 lights on it :-) 


Awesome, that is another method to try, when you mention the "Lighter color" blending mode, you mean in PS the Lighten blending mode? Or is it something else. Thanks a lot!


He does not.  Select 2 or more layers simultaneously, choose "Edit /  Auto-Blend Layers..." and see what your options are on the dialog. CS5 doesn't have a mode selection for some reason, but I think CS3 did. I know I've combined images to auto-remove things that move...


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7 years 11 months ago #387406 by KCook
Oooh, that sounds nice!  Elements9 does have layers, but does not have any AutoBlend tool for the layers.

Kelly

Canon 50D, Olympus PL2
kellycook.zenfolio.com/

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1 month 4 weeks ago #737408 by SpanishFlyer
The only thing I would like to add about how that star trail was taken is that in order to achieve those complete circles, you must also aim the camera as close as possible to the North Star (in the northers hemisphere). If you are the southern hemisphere there are no bright stars to lock on to, but instead you use a group of stars that you find "somewhere" in the southern sky.
Good luck,
Spanish Flyer


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