By the light of the silvery moon
More night photography. I shoot a lot in the one or two hours that I am outdoors with a camera.
There are two schools of thought about that. One tells you to be slow and deliberate. Sitting in one spot until the conditions are perfect. Composing and rechecking the composition and focus again and again until you are sure that when the conditions are right you have your masterpiece.
I can’t sit still for too long without my eyes wandering left, right and behind me. I am visualizing/seeing photos all around me. Why restrict myself to just one or two photos when I can have twenty? I shoot like a madman but I also edit ruthlessly. After a few edits I have almost all the rejects/similars edited out.
I really want to be able to sit still for an hour and photograph star trails but you can see my dilemna. Who wants to bet that I will ever photograph star trails? LOL
Early Friday evening after the red alert for aurora borealis was issued I was driving to likely areas waiting for it to get darker and for the aurora to appear. As I drove by this intersection I noticed the glow at the end of the road to my left. The shapes were there but I wasn’t sure how the camera would capture it. The moon was still in the sky. If I remember correctly it was to set an hour or so later. I didn’t plan on the moon casting so much light when I processed my RAW images.
Here’s how I got the photo. I have an idea of my exposure at night. I usually shoot at the same f-stop and bracket by increasing and decreasing the exposure. In this case there were three exposures. Looking at the RAWs none of them had all the picture information that I wanted. If I used the frame that was exposed for the glow from the town past the horizon the foreground would be underexpose or grainy or even banded. There was a frame that had the proper road detail but the horizon was over exposed with absolutely no detail.
Simple solution! I processed the two frames separately. The frame that that had the detail above the horizon was processed for the best detail there ignoring how it looked below. Likewise for the frame that had the correct exposure for the road.
Once both were processed, I pasted one on top of the other and with image masking in Photoshop erased the unwanted image information from the top layer.
In the resulting image, the gravel on the road has all kinds of detail from the moonlight. (I couldn’t have planned it better myself if I had wanted.) The picture above the horizon contains a few stars, a faint aurora in the upper left corner, a few clouds and a glow from the town over the hill.
All by the light of the silvery moon.