I’ve got another Milky Way shot today from my stay in Joshua Tree National Park. It’s an experience I will never forget. The quiet that set in after dark was like nothing I had ever heard before. Standing out in the middle of nowhere staring up at the Milky Way truly has few matches. This particular shot is taken on the opposite side of Arch Rock just a few minutes from where we camped. Interestingly when I thought of Joshua Tree National Park and photographing it I thought I’d be shooting a bunch of different Joshua Trees (I did) but what I did not realize is just how many cool looking rock formations there are. I ended up spending more time framing shots with these than the actual Joshua Trees!
Today I want to talk about two different issues I often see with dark ride photos. First off, and the biggest offender is too much denoising. One thing to keep in mind when denoising is that when doing so you are not just removing noise, you are also removing detail. Scrubbing a photo til it’s completely noise free usually means you’ve also scrubbed all the details away. My suggestion for avoiding this is to run a denoise pass, but then use a layer mask to apply that mask only to the dark areas. This is usually where the most noise is present and likewise where the least detail is present. I’ve applied this method to this shot and I think you’ll agree the final image is quite clean.
Next is the tendency to boosts shadows and blacks to show all the little details and trinkets hiding in the shadows. I have to double check myself on this. By doing so you are removing contrast and often making the image look washed out. Furthermore, boosting shadows so extensively often brings you back to trying to clean it up with excessive denoising where you end up scrubbing those details away. I suggest being more judicious with the shadows slider, pulling them up to reveal some detail, but being careful to retain contrast. In my opinion the image with solid contrast is going to look better and be more interesting than the image that’s been boosted, denoised, and washed out… even if it shows off stuff typically hidden in the shadows.
I’ve talked about this a lot over the years, but I still absolutely love using the Nikon 70-200 to compress spaces. I have shot many similar shots of the Walt Disney World hub so of course I had to get one at Disneyland. What I especially like here is that the short height of Sleeping Beauty Castle let me stay horizontal whereas the Walt Disney World hub I tend to go vertical because of the height of Cinderella Castle.
Shooting the lagoon at sunset was an exercise in patience and editing definitely had its share of difficulties considering the number of shots, the passage of time and blending it all together to look real. Well if you try that shot and you don’t think it’s hard enough try to do the same thing at night. This is one of the most difficult shots I feel like I’ve ever done. Seriously, it’s legit tough, especially the edit. This shot is comprised of 5 different shots. 2 for a base blend, 1 for the monorail, 1 for the submarine, and an additional shot for the stars (shot at ISO 1600 to capture as many as possible in the light polluted Anaheim sky).
I’ve been really slacking with my editing lately. I’m just having a hard time getting motivated to edit even though I still have tons of great shots to process from my Disneyland trip. Anyway, today I have a low shot of Sleeping Beauty Castle for you guys. Sleeping Beauty Castle offers some interesting challenges compared to Cinderella Castle. To process the pinks for the top half of the castle you have to white balance separately from the rest of the photo. Additionally, the highlights are very hot, so you have to be careful to not blow them out too much. Add into that the vapor colored sky of Anaheim and it’s quite a process to get to the final presentable image.
This is another shot taken with my infamous tour guide @coopergregg Gregg met me over at Disneyland one evening and we went around for several hours on a photo tour of the park shooting from before sunset, through sunset and closing out the park. This was my last sunset shot of the evening as the sun soon disappeared behind the trees bringing grey hour upon us. Enjoy.
We just took a brief trip to the Smoky Mountain National Park for some fall color and on our way back home decided to make a quick stop by Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia. I haven’t been in several years and we only spent about an hour here, but it was nice to have a go at shooting here again now that I have a bit more experience and knowledge under my belt. Enjoy!
On my way out of Cars Land there must have been a dozen photographers all lined up on the ground taking a shot here. I decided to quickly switch to my 24-70 and shoot over them for this “compressed” shot of Cars Land. I really like it because it brings so much of the land in to a single shot.