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Author Topic: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra  (Read 1810 times)

Stephen Girimont

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Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« on: April 28, 2019, 10:21:48 am »

Hello, it's been a while since I posted anything here. I thought I'd rectify that situation with some images I shot on a recent trip out west to shoot the Eastern Sierras, Death Valley and Sedona.

These two images were made in late March from the northern end of the Alabama Hills. Each image is a 3-row pano of 14 vertical images per row (42 images total) taken with the Fuji GFX 50s and the GF 250mm lens. Each image weighs in at over 800 megapixels at full resolution. The detail in the images is incredible. Some days I think I do this just to see how much abuse my poor Macbook Pro can take.

I would be very interested in hearing which image folks prefer. My wife prefers the blue-hour one and I honestly can't decide between them.

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2019, 11:45:45 am »

I prefer the first one, but nothing wrong with the other either. Depends on the couch ;)

P.S. Was it GigaPan or manual?

Chairman Bill

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2019, 11:59:25 am »

Both look perfectly good to me.

Jeremy Roussak

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2019, 01:14:15 pm »

Both look perfectly good to me.

I agree, but if forced to choose, I'd select the second. I might ask for the foreground to be lightened a tad.

Jeremy
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2019, 01:30:58 pm »

Another vote for both, with bit more for the first.
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Stephen Girimont

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2019, 06:40:01 pm »

I prefer the first one, but nothing wrong with the other either. Depends on the couch ;)

P.S. Was it GigaPan or manual?

Manual. I have a pano head kit from RRS that I use that makes things easier.

Arlen

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2019, 06:46:54 pm »

The first one for me. It's beautiful. I hope you have a big space on your wall for the print.
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luxborealis

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2019, 09:43:19 pm »

Impossible to choose between them, so I’ll go with Slobodan’s recommendation: “Depends on the couch.”
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armand

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2019, 10:16:51 pm »

Both are very nice but I prefer the second.

Smoothjazz

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2019, 10:29:58 pm »

Stephen,
Just curious; instead of stitching so many images, could you have just used a wider angle lens and cropped the image to a panoramic? I was considering different possibilities for approaching mountain photography.
Thanks,
John
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langier

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2019, 11:50:54 pm »

Both are well done. I'm with Slobodan as to determining which is the better of the two...
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kimballistic

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2019, 12:12:40 am »

Each image is a 3-row pano of 14 vertical images per row (42 images total) taken with the Fuji GFX 50s and the GF 250mm lens.

Your results are incredible.  I've been wanting to do something very similar here in Yosemite.

How did you manage to capture 42 images without having drastic changes in color & lighting from the beginning to the end?  I haven't tried this because I've assumed it's not possible around sunset when the light changes so quickly.
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32BT

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2019, 12:23:28 am »

#1 for me, by a large margin.

There's an obvious lack of foreground interest and #2 attempts to depict a natural scene with hard to reproduce added warm color that doesn't add interest in the sense of contrasting the overall cold colors for example. It tries, like most landscape photography, to invite the viewer to ask what it would be like if we were standing there, and then hopes to convey the sense of impression that the photographer might have had. A sense of grandeur with the warmth of the early sun maybe? But there is no reference for size (contrast between sizes) and there is no reference for colorreproduction (contrast by opposing colors). One should wonder if the extreme resolution is contributing anything useful.

#1 however, the emptiness creates an interesting counterbalance between itself and the moon which now becomes a more prominent element: we see an almost otherworldly monotone landscape, we see the moon prominantly (but not dominantly) at the centerstage, we know the moon is made up of a similar monotone landscape, and therefore it makes one think about the relation between the two, about how the earth and the moon are two connected rocks hurtling through space. If we subsequently study the minor features that are available in the detail, then it makes us think about our presence on one of them.

#1 with all of its seemingly featureless qualities, actually makes us think about ourselves, and the resolution detail is an intricate part of it. Hence it is the better picture.
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2019, 05:02:20 am »

#1 for me, great image.

Stephen Girimont

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2019, 06:38:57 am »

Stephen,
Just curious; instead of stitching so many images, could you have just used a wider angle lens and cropped the image to a panoramic? I was considering different possibilities for approaching mountain photography.
Thanks,
John
Excellent question. The simple answer is "you absolutely could." However, in my case, I am one of the fortunate in that I am able to make money off my landscape photography. One of my biggest clients is a growing chain of restaurants with a southwest theme that uses my images as the decor package for the franchises. The most common size I sell to that client is a 40x60-inch aluminum print. I've sold quite a few of the largest size aluminum print current technology seems to allow: 4 feet by 8 feet.

Consequently, I shoot my landscapes with an eye toward maximizing resolution and quality. The images you see here have enough resolution to be printed at 32x96 inches (96 inches being the longest size possible for aluminum currently) with no resolution interpolation at all. There is enough resolution that I can crop these images to virtually any image ratio to fit any possible space. And when I get the inevitable customer who asks "can you print that as a vertical?" I can roll my eyes and say "yes I can" because there's enough resolution here to make any number of vertical or square crops.

Here are some 100% crops I've pulled out of the images (sorry about the quality, they are screen captures). The first image is the trail someone made in the snow hiking from the Whitney Trail parking area to the campground at Outpost Camp. The second image is Cyclops Arch in the Alabama Hills in the foreground.




Stephen Girimont

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2019, 06:45:02 am »

One should wonder if the extreme resolution is contributing anything useful.
At the small sizes for web viewing, the extreme resolution is a hindrance, for sure. However, at the size at which these are intended to be printed, you get a "Where's Waldo" effect in the foreground, as there is a massive amount of detail in the Alabama Hills rock formations. There are at least two arches which are clearly evident, and I believe I've even seen some petroglyphs just scrolling through the full-resolution images. I'll post some more 100% crop samples if I have time later this evening.

Bob_B

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2019, 07:02:42 am »

No. 1 for me too.
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Stephen Girimont

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2019, 12:50:40 pm »

Your results are incredible.  I've been wanting to do something very similar here in Yosemite.

How did you manage to capture 42 images without having drastic changes in color & lighting from the beginning to the end?  I haven't tried this because I've assumed it's not possible around sunset when the light changes so quickly.
Good question: in the blue-hour image, each exposure was 5 seconds each. For each row, that meant just over a minute passed from the first exposure to the last. I was shooting from left to right. Consequently, the brightness of the right side of the image was greater than the left. From row to row, however, the blending that happens in photoshop during a stitch of this sort did a good job at evening out brightness differences from top to bottom.

All it took to make the left-to-right brightness more natural was a graduated mask across the right half of the image to knock down the exposure just a touch (about 1/3rd of a stop, pretty much).

Oddly enough, I didn't need to do this with the alpenglow image (or didn't feel the need to do this). If you look very carefully, you may be able to see that the light level is just a tad lower on the mountain peaks to the right than they are on the left, but I think, visually, the mind might write this off as being just how the light was striking the mountains. The exposure time for each image in the alpenglow stitch was 1/20th of a second, if I remember correctly, so not as much time between the first and last images of each row.

Also, I've been doing multi-row panoramas for a couple of years now, so I've got the technique down pretty well with my current gear, so I'm able to work pretty quickly when the situation calls for it (changing light conditions, moving clouds, etc.)

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2019, 04:06:17 pm »

Stephen, since you have such a great source of details worth preserving, I would suggest to try PTGui instead of Photoshop for stitching. In my experience, the difference is like putting reading glasses on, plus more accurate stitching.

HSakols

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Re: Moonset Over the Eastern Sierra
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2019, 06:24:55 pm »

Most excellent light.  I like them both. 
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