Sheldon Wecker, QPSA  

Starstax by Sheldon Wecker, QPSA

May 2022 - Starstax

About the Image(s)

This is a star trails composite I took while on an AZ Highways night sky workshop in Sasabe AZ. We set up near the only natural pond in about 50 miles. The water was smooth enough to reflect the stars. There was still light pollution - likely from Tucson about 35 miles away “ even though Tucson is a designated dark sky area. I was able to minimize it by using the saturation and luminance sliders for the yellow/orange colors that are the dominant wavelengths of sodium vapor lamps. The mountain visible in the background is Baboquivari, which plays an important role in the Tohono Odom creation story. Sony A7R3, 20mm f2.8, stack of 13 second exposures, iso 3200. Total exposure about 30 minutes. Edited in Lightroom, StarStax, Topaz ai denoise and sharpen.

8 comments posted

Peter Elliston   Peter Elliston
Sheldon this is an amazing image which puts the human existence into perspective! Just what is going out there?! Technically this is a well created image. I do like the swoop of the stars and the reflection in the pond and the way you have reduced the effect of the light pollution. The slight haze by the distant mountains helps create another sense of the mystery and awe. You might not want to crop this shot but it could lose a little from the left without ruining the overall composition. Well done on the stacking and us of Topaz Ai which I also find very effective.   Posted: 05/07/2022 02:58:24

Joe Kennedy   Joe Kennedy
Definite wall hanger, Sheldon! Like the star trails - I did one of these in Monument Valley and was surprised to see the various colors in the trails - blue, white and yellow. I see the same colors here.   Posted: 05/07/2022 15:58:01

Joe Norcott   Joe Norcott
I've seen many star trails but this is the first time I've seen one with a reflection from the water. Very colorful.   Posted: 05/08/2022 15:56:02

Dr Brian Wimborne   Dr Brian Wimborne
This image is remarkable and had me wondering how you did it. I presume you added the sky's reflection to the surface of the water, but I may be wrong.

Regardless of how you created the photo, it is a stunning image.   Posted: 05/08/2022 18:38:24
Sheldon Wecker   Sheldon Wecker
Thanks for your comments Brian,
The sky's reflection is real - it wasn't added in post. The water was smooth enough to reflect the stars.   Posted: 05/08/2022 23:19:26
Dr Brian Wimborne   Dr Brian Wimborne
That means it's an even more superb image.   Posted: 05/08/2022 23:53:53

John Hackett   John Hackett
I find star trail pictures fascinating. The thing for me in this one is not just the amount of trails but the fact that we have an interesting foreground and that reflection for a bonus. Well worth the effort in setting youself up to capture it.   Posted: 05/16/2022 06:52:48

Glenn Rudd   Glenn Rudd
The reflection of the sky in the water is what makes this such an outstanding image. I like the color variations brought out in post processing. In the words of my night photography mentor, Royce Bair, this is a great "Nightscape" (a composite of the sky and the landscape.)   Posted: 05/16/2022 19:41:04


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