Exploring my Inner Artist / Anticipating the Milky Way

With the threat of a winter storm on the horizon, I have been keeping a close eye on the weather this past week. With the moon phase in passing, this week our night skies are not to be greatly affected with reflective light from the moon. This being the case, my thoughts are revisiting my milky way shot. According to local weather people saturday night is forecasted to be a crisp, cold cloud free night. If that is the case, I will be out doing my thing in anticipation.. Pray for me people, because this has been a long time coming.

On to the compositions for the week. Deciding to explore and improve on the HDR method, as well as some editing ideas as part of my workflow, I found myself out doing a little exploring. With a borrowed lens from my partner, as well as a ND filter, Shop was set up, and the shutters be a snapping.  Having several bracketed photos for HDR compositions, I opted first to try a little experiment with some older shots. So using lightroom and creating a virtual copy, I exported the copied photo to a plug-in I use in lightroom which at this time will remain my little secret, and began hacking it up. Once satisfied, I imported and published the shot on my facebook page.. The feedback was incredible and several people had publicly posted that they would like to purchase a copy. It was also suggested that the photo would be incredible in a barn wood frame, and that little idea is in the works.

The composition with HDR effects.

Barn With HDR Effects

Barn With HDR Effects

Just throwing this out there, but if you like it as much as others, I have this print available in our online store. Lots of options exist for ordering this print, so have a look around. The direct link to this shot is right HERE.

As I stated, this was a test run for my bracketed shots, and I think I can say that my HDR method as well as my editing workflow is pretty solid. So with a few variations on this shot I will show you the favorites, as voted on by friends of MSP.

First composition:

Original HDR Composition

Original HDR Composition

A thought on winter, As we all know, most days during this season are gray, and the golden hours of shooting don’t always happen. The intent here is not to over saturate the shot with false lighting, or make the day seem brighter than it really was. I am here to tell you, that it was cold, windy and almost depressing. Cool part, no midday harsh light, and although gray, I would suggest giving am honest effort, to get out there and snap some shots. Any one interested you can purchase this shot as well, Right HERE

A variation of this, and almost a sepia type print I used a selective filter and gave the shot a coffee stained look.

stream (4 of 5)

Coffee stained effect

This version is also within the store. HERE.

As pointed out by a reader, I have been slacking on the information regarding how I composed,so with an attempt at doing a better job of this, here is some info… I shot these images using my 7d and my partner’s wife’s canon 18-55 mm lens at 33mm. ISO was 100 at f 4 and the shutter speed was 1/160th of a sec. Metering was spot and used the 19 point auto focus system for this particular image. I also used a neutral density filter as an experiment to see just how much it would affect my image.. Pleased with the results, I also want to mention that a tripod was used, because as a bracketed image I wanted the final compositions to be free of any shifting, when I merged the images using my HDR workflow. One last key piece of the puzzle was the use of my white balance setting. I did in fact set the balance to represent a cloudy day, vs the auto WB that I normally use. Contrary to what I mentioned earlier I wanted the color balance to lean towards a warmer tone vs, the colder tones of blue. This was also a test employed, simply for the editing process, as my intent was to represent the gray of winter. I think I accomplished what I set out to do on this day, and we will see if I have success on my weekend attempt at the milky way.

Long winded, but full of information, I will close out with a very gracious thank you, and mention once again that, MSP does in fact have an online store and the images you here can be purchased within. If you see something here, and can’t find it on the store, shoot me a message, and that problem will receive a remedy.

With the snow falling as I type, stay safe, warm, and always keep that shutter banging.

My best,







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