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Featured Post: Shooting Stars eBook Review — How to Photograph the Stars and the Moon
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|"650 x 40 Seconds" by Lincoln Harrison|
|Northern Lights: What your eyes see versus what the camera captures ~ © Mike Taylor|
“Humans use two different kinds of cells in their eyes to sense light. Cone cells, concentrated in the fovea in the central area of vision, are high resolution and detect color in bright light. These are the main cells we use for vision in the daytime. Rod cells, concentrated in the periphery around the outside of the fovea, can detect much fainter light at night, but only see in black and white and shades of gray. [Aurora] only appear to us in shades of gray because the light is too faint to be sensed by our color-detecting cone cells.” – Jerry LodrigussThus the human eye views the Northern Lights generally in “black & white.” DSLR camera sensors don't have this limitation. Couple that fact in with long exposure times and high ISO settings of modern cameras = the camera sensor has a much higher dynamic range of vision in the dark than we do. The same thing is true regarding the Milky Way and night photography in general. Some folks claim that they can see many colors during an aurora display and that very well may be. I have definitely seen light shades of green, red, and violet/purple but I can only speak for myself and my empirical knowledge - your mileage may vary. The farther North your viewing location, the more colors you can actually see because the aurora is stronger.
|Two image examples from the ebook, Shooting Stars, that did inspire me.|
|Sample page layouts from Shooting Stars.|
"Shooting Stars is a valuable gift and a must have for any photographer interested in Nightscape Photography. A steal for the money, with or without discounts applied. The book far exceeded my expectations. I have many books on photography and found Shooting Stars a much easier read. Far more interesting than anticipated; even with all the Astronomic's and math equations involved. Shooting Stars is filled with many useful links and helpful videos. Incredible photography and simplified 'how to' tips. Lessons that, along with the knowledge I received in your course, has definitely given me a better understanding and more confidence to go out on my own and navigate the sky and shoot the stars. I learn best with a hands on approach. With my experience, if you would have recommended that I read the book first I would have been a bit lost. Thanks to you, Nightscape was my first successful shoot in low light and a night sky. I would recommend Shooting Stars for anyone who wants a great book to compliment a NightScape workshop." — Rita Nielsen
"[This] book covers basic knowledge of the night sky and camera equipment needed to capture its beauty, to more advanced techniques and settings to produce great night photos, including Milky Way and star trails photos.
"There is a ...good amount of detail about the different equipment used in night time photography...On the camera side, it describes shutter speed, ISO, noise reduction, and other camera settings...on the lens side, it shows the importance of having the right lens in terms of aperture and focal distance, and how to focus the lens in the dark, which can be problematic if you don’t know of ways to do it...
"In later chapters, the book gets a little more in-depth, and I found several of the chapters on some advanced techniques very interesting. Star trails, and star trail image stacking is something that I have wanted to do for some time, but haven’t yet.
"The best thing that I walked away with from this book was a comprehensive list of camera settings for the different types of photo shoots. …if you’re interested in shooting night photography of any kind, I would recommend looking at this eBook, especially if you are new to photography." — J.M. Darter (See Mike's complete review, with his own night photos and some great advice, here.)
"…a good price point. I think it has an excellent overview of all aspects from the basics of astronomy to photographing the night sky (both moon and stars, as well as twilight) and simple post-processing. This would be a very good overview for someone without prior night sky photography experience. Its overall generalist view provides good background but certainly does not reach the details (as you know post-processing is deserving of a very long book). Some of the information seems incomplete, for example, the description of cropped sensors. It provides excellent samples of variations in outcomes with different lenses, ISO settings, and time. (He does not seem to push the ISO to the capabilities of the newest sensors.) I think the description of noise was great (best description I have read and very helpful). In light of it being a ebook, I would think that it could and would be updated frequently. It seemed a [bit] dated with respect to the DSLR information (wish he had put in [the] D600 and D800 since I don't know [how] they compare with the other Nikons on his help pages)." — Steven and Denise Waterman
"Shooting Stars is a valuable and very reasonably price e-book that offers a comprehensive guide for night sky photography; there is something for every level of photographer here. The illustrations are graphic and well thought out, so even a first casual glance through the book is productive.
"If you are a beginning star shooter who is into the quick-start method, begin on page 31 and read about focusing; also take a look at/print out the “Camera Settings Cheat Sheet” on page 131. Then get out there and start shooting.
"If you are an intermediate night photographer, you might want to review the author’s Image Processing Steps starting on page 79; ... You will find there are many different approaches to processing star shots, so this is just one experienced photographer’s approach; consider it as a starting point on an interesting journey.
"For advanced night photographers, this will whet your appetite to be under the stars capturing the glory of the night sky, and will get your creative juices flowing. If you are having issues with star timelapse sequences, you might be interested in some of Phil’s advice in this area.
"Phil Hart’s Shooting Stars is a comprehensive, well organized, and easy to navigate resource for night photographers, and will be a welcome addition in anyone’s e-book library.
"This book would be a helpful starting point for folks attending your workshops; the question is: would they actually open it and read it before arriving! Personally, I think it would be worth offering to your clients —even if they just skimmed it." — Ann Ruttle
|Milky Way over Zion National Park's most famous lone pine tree ~ © Robin Perkins|
Canon 5D Mk III • Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 lens • f/2.8, 30 sec, ISO 6400
|Grafton Schoolhouse in Grafton, Utah ~ © Royce Bair (click to enlarge)|
Canon 5D MkIII • EF24-70mm f/2.8 lens @ 34mm • f/5.6, 25 sec, ISO 200 • 5 lights
|Three exposure values from the same camera raw image (cropped for this demo).|
|The Natural HDR has much more shadow detail than the original exposure.|
The tone-mapped HDR ("Painterly 5") has great texture and warmth, but is too garish.
Blending these two HDR versions in Photoshop combines the best of both, and the final result is the top image.
|Photographers with the 2013 Bryce "NightScape" Workshop|
shooting the midnight moonrise next to the light painted "Fortress".
|Photographers from our 2013 Arches Workshop,|
waiting for the moon to set and the Milky Way to be revealed.
|Photographers from the July 2013 Teton Workshop gathered at the John Moulton homestead outhouse.|