A few from my weekend wild hair trip

Laura

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Back in June I got a wild hair to photograph Bryce Canyon with snow under a full moon. The Photographer's Ephemeris said the moon would be in perfect position October 19-20, so I bought a plane ticket hoping the weather would cooperate (I photographed Bryce Canyon with snow on October 7 one year). It didn't. Not only did the weather not cooperate but I seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time just about every place I went, and made all kinds of rookie mistakes I haven't made in years. Still, a long weekend in Utah still beats work! Here are a few shots-let me know which ones you like and which ones don't work (I mean that, feedback is the best way to improve!):

Narrows Trees 2.jpg

The Narrows-lots more water this year than last. The wind was blowing so some of the leaves are out of focus with the long exposure-oh well.

Harvest Moon Vertical.jpg


A harvest moon rises over Bryce Canyon. This was really spectacular to see in person, photos just don't do it justice!

Bryce Moonlight.jpg


This was the start of the rookie mistakes. Since nothing was going right I just goofed off along the lines of "let's see what happens when I do this". One thing I forgot was to turn on the long exposure noise reduction so I applied it in Lightroom, but it made the photo look too soft. And it was probably out of focus as well since it was too dark to see.

Obligatory Insp Pt.jpg


The obligatory Inspiration Point sunrise shot. After I shot this I realized I was freezing my butt off to take the same shot thousands (millions? It's Bryce Canyon after all) have taken before me, so I tried for more originality. Came up with this:

Bryce Castle.jpg


This reminded me of a Bavarian Castle, and the light was hitting it just perfectly.

Before I left for this trip someone on this site (@Intuitive Cat, I think) recommended the Burr Trail, so I decided to get away from the usual spots and explore this. It was fantastic! I had the trail nearly to myself, I pulled over several times when I saw a sign that said "Trailhead" (to where I had no idea, but that didn't matter) and just got out and hiked and explored. Didn't get any good pictures but the area was just beautiful. I'm definitely going back. Lots of beautiful cottonwoods:

Burr Trail.jpg


Thanks for the great recommendation, this was the highlight of the trip!

Narrows tree.river.jpg



I'll be back here in 10 days-woohoo! Hoping the colors will have peaked in the Narrows by then.

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IntrepidXJ

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One thing I forgot was to turn on the long exposure noise reduction so I applied it in Lightroom, but it made the photo look too soft.

I don't know anyone that even uses that function in the first place? I didn't think it affected RAW files much anyways?
 

Dave

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I don't know anyone that even uses that function in the first place? I didn't think it affected RAW files much anyways?

I certainly does apply to RAW. It's the equivalent of shooting a dark frame and then subtracting the noise pattern in the dark frame from the original exposure. The obvious downside is that it doubles the length of each shot, introducing gaps in star trails (if that's what you're shooting). For shooting stacks, it's smarter to shoot a single dark frame instead of doing long-exposure noise reduction on each frame.

In my experience, long-exposure noise reduction is useful if you're shooting in bulb with shutter speeds in the several minute range. YMMV
 

IntrepidXJ

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But doesn't it just remove hot pixels (since the other noise is random), which is easily automatically removed by Adobe CameraRAW and Lightroom?
 

Dave

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Not just hot pixels but also pattern noise related to heating of the sensor during long exposures. That's unique to the individual sensor, the length of exposure and the ambient temperature. I've done some single-shot night stuff in the 20-40 minute range where it really made a difference.
 

IntrepidXJ

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I guess I never really take long enough exposures for it to matter, then.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Laura, my favorite shots in this set are: Inspiration Point sunrise and the Bavarian Castle
 

Laura

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I guess I never really take long enough exposures for it to matter, then.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Laura, my favorite shots in this set are: Inspiration Point sunrise and the Bavarian Castle

Cool, thanks Randy!
 

Laura

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But getting back to long exposure noise reduction, since that Bryce moonstar shot was done at 12,800 ISO (I don't like star trails so 30 seconds is as long as I go) the RAW file had a lot of noise. Correcting it in Lightroom really softened the exposure and I lost the details in the rocks. What's the best way to correct for this or is there a way to avoid it? The manual recommends LENR for all shots over 1 second. BTW, what is a stack?

Also, please feel free to tell me which shots you don't think work and why. Believe me, I can take it! There's a photography instructor at UCSD I take classes from and he gives the most nit-picky, brutal critiques but he is spot on and boy do you improve with someone like that.
 

Laura

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I never use long exposure noise reduction. If I have a little noise I want to get rid of, I use Nik's Dfine plugin which does a great job. Side note - the whole Nik Efex package is invaluable, IMO.

Stacks are when you take a bunch of single exposures and turn it into a star trail. Check this out:

http://backcountrypost.com/forum/threads/how-to-shoot-star-trails.66/

Cool, thanks Nick! I'll have to put Nik Efex on my Christmas list. I've heard lots of great things about it.
 

Nick

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You can do a 15 day(?) fully functional trial if you want to play around with it. It includes plugins for Lightroom, Aperture and Photoshop. And since Google bought them out, the price dropped from $350 to $150 making it much more reasonable. Color Efex and Silver Efex are my favs in the package.

http://www.google.com/nikcollection/
 

Laura

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You can do a 15 day(?) fully functional trial if you want to play around with it. It includes plugins for Lightroom, Aperture and Photoshop. And since Google bought them out, the price dropped from $350 to $150 making it much more reasonable. Color Efex and Silver Efex are my favs in the package.

http://www.google.com/nikcollection/

Guess what I'll be playing with on my next photography trip.....:dance:
 

gnwatts

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I too like your Bavarian Castle. The big question is, which shots do you like, which ones give you satisfaction? For me, it isn't did I replicate what was there, but did I capture what I saw or felt at the moment. If I did, then I am happy. I rarely go over 30 second exposures so I can't help with noise reduction. I use it minimally in Aperture when needed. Maybe try a faster lens, and not use as high an ISO?
 

IntrepidXJ

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since that Bryce moonstar shot was done at 12,800 ISO


I just checked the EXIF info on this shot at Flickr, and it says it was 2500? 2500 should require minimal noise reduction on you full-framed 5DmkIII unless you under-exposed too much and lightened up the image in Lightroom?

I know I shoot at ISO 3200 quite a bit and rarely have any noise issues on my 6D and 5DmkIII.
 

Laura

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I just checked the EXIF info on this shot at Flickr, and it says it was 2500? 2500 should require minimal noise reduction on you full-framed 5DmkIII unless you under-exposed too much and lightened up the image in Lightroom?

I probably did. I had a few underexposed images and a few with uneven light painting so I believe I went with the underexposed version because the lighting was more even. Here it is with no NR:

Thor\'s Hammer Moonstar no NR.jpg
 

intuitive cat

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Glad you enjoyed the Burr Trail. the Cottonwoods in the Gulch have been amazing this year.
The next time you come out this way, stop in Hills & Hollows in Boulder and say hello!
 

Laura

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Glad you enjoyed the Burr Trail. the Cottonwoods in the Gulch have been amazing this year.
The next time you come out this way, stop in Hills & Hollows in Boulder and say hello!

I will! The Burr Trail was amazing, but unfortunately I only had an afternoon to see it. It just kept getting better and better the further I went! I had to turn around after I took this:

Cottonwood.jpg



I have feeling I was just getting to the good part.....
 
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