View Full Version : Big Bend National Park- Nightscape

Michael Lloyd
01-15-2008, 12:04 AM
I took this the evening before I hiked up to the southwest rim in BBNP last fall. I had spent the afternoon at St. Elena Canyon and let time get away from me so it was almost dark when I started driving back to the lodge. This is on the road going up to the Chisos Mountain Lodge (I didn't get to stay there. Note to self, book the room before you go.).

As much as I like this image I have not been able to find a crop that I like. I kick myself every time I see the little patch of gravel and pavement on the left.

RRS Ground Tripod
B55 Ballhead
24-70 f2.8L
Self timer set 10s to trigger the shutter
ISO 1600

5s @ f2.8

The full moon was up about 45 and behind me about 45 to my left


Fabs Forns
01-15-2008, 11:26 AM
Michael, I can't find the image :(

John Cooper
01-15-2008, 09:22 PM
Hi Mike - Thumbnail OK but no main image!!!

Michael Lloyd
01-15-2008, 10:07 PM
Really????! That is odd. I can see it???? Maybe the image host is down? Sometimes they go offline for no apparent reason. I'll try reloading the link (but I can see it?)

Fabs Forns
01-15-2008, 11:58 PM
Very nicely done, Michael. Hard to tell if it needs a bit of CW rotation, but my instinct tell me it does ;)

Very clean for iso 1600 :)

Jason Hahn
01-16-2008, 06:45 AM
Cool night shot, very nice starry sky. What catches my eye is the perfect timing/position of the clouds to outline the ridge, really makes that stand out from the sky. As you mentioned I am not sure about the comp either, the two vertical plants and the road are a little distracting, but if you just crop those out, it really doesn't help the comp. What I might consider is a panoramic crop, removing part of the road probably somewhere around right above your credit, and then do a little clone work to remove the last of it. I would then crop the sky somewhere over that brightest star. I like the placement of the tallest point of the rocks in the image, right along the right third, and the ridge line does a nice job of leading your eye, except where that right hand plant breaks across it. If you do try the pano crop, I would probably consider a little cloning work on that right hand plant sticking into the sky.


Michael Lloyd
01-16-2008, 01:34 PM
For me, there's quite a bit of Photoshop work done on this version. I cleaned up some of the clutter and cropped it a little tighter. I also paid much closer attention to the white point and black point. I think this version works better in some ways but it seems a little too bright. Thoughts?

Fabs, my initial reaction was that it did indeed need some rotation however once I cleaned out the leaning vertical elements and looked closely at it I think that it's ok. It's hard to tell to be honest. There are very few naturally horizontal or vertical elements in the shot.


Robert Amoruso
01-16-2008, 04:35 PM

I like the recrop and cloning. I would agree with you that it does look too bright now. Somewhere in the middle of the first version and the one above is the sweet spot.

01-16-2008, 06:27 PM
I like the crop in your revision. And brigher, certainly brings out more interesting detail.
However, given that you have stars in the sky, it is hard to reconcile the mid-day lighting !
I'm conflicted. :p

Michael Lloyd
01-16-2008, 07:13 PM
Thanks Robert.

Hey Bill! I was pretty sure I had seen you around here. Now if I can just figure out where Jim is :D

I toned the repost down a little with the midpoint slider in levels. I could have used a brightness / contrast layer but (a) I don't particularly like that option and (b) it really made the image flat when I tried it. While going through the process of bringing the brightness down I think I now understand why it looks too bright. I set the white point in ACR so that the clouds were just starting to appear (hold the ALT key down while sliding the exposure slider). That really kicked things in the tail but the clouds are so white that they kind of overwhelm the image. To me, they still do.

Thanks again.

01-16-2008, 11:43 PM
Hi, Michael. When are you coming to Houston, so we can all test that new toy of yours ?
I want to see some 40"x60" prints.:D

Michael Lloyd
01-17-2008, 09:47 AM
As soon as I dig myself out from underneath my real job Bill. I switched to full-time contract work and now I actually have to work :D I am supposed to be in south Louisiana in early Feb. I hope the pintails are where they were last year.