Stars Over Tahoe (+2)

Kyle Jones

Moderator
I made a stealth up and back trip to Lake Tahoe last night hoping to capture some stars over Eagle Falls and Emerald Bay. The forecast was clear with no moon in the sky and I hoped that the lack of vacationers during the lock down would reduce the light pollution. The biggest challenge I faced was that the only clouds in the sky were directly in my way. Fortunately they vanished a little after 11pm.

This is a blend of 4 exposures at 14mm and f/2.8. Most of the ground game from a 4 minute exposure at ISO 800. I did another ground exposure at ISO 1600 to blend in some more light on the waterfall. The sky is a 4 minute tracked exposure at ISO 800. I used another sky exposure at 30s and ISO 6400 to help blend around the trees and horizon.

Any thoughts are welcome.
3054 Eagle Falls and Stars_850.jpg


Adding two more images for comparison. The first uses the same foreground as the above, but the sky is from another high ISO frame when the clouds were still clearing (no star stacking here).
3056 Stars Clouds and Eagle Falls_850.jpg


And here is a later image with a slightly different composition, trying to get more of the Milky Way core on the right. For this the sky was 2 minutes at ISO 1600. It is definitely easier to blend around the trees with the shorter exposure. If you look in the sky on the left, you can see where I captured a meteor.
3072 Lake Tahoe Stars_850.jpg
 
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AlanLichty

Moderator
Stunning result - very nice work in capturing the layers to make this work and blending them into this image. Is it mostly city lights illuminating the skyline in the distance?
 

Kyle Jones

Moderator
Stunning result - very nice work in capturing the layers to make this work and blending them into this image. Is it mostly city lights illuminating the skyline in the distance?
Yes, that is South Lake. At least the casinos aren't fully lit up.
 

JimFox

Moderator
Staff member
This looks really cool Kyle! I think you made the right move to go now. With the casino's down there is almost no light pollution to get in the way.
 

Jim Dockery

Well-Known Member
I like the clouds in #2 not sure if I prefer it to the first, #3 doesn't do it for me because more of the falls is cut off - in all of them I want to see more of the falls. Did you happen to shoot a lower shot to merge into a pano?
 

Kyle Jones

Moderator
I like the clouds in #2 not sure if I prefer it to the first, #3 doesn't do it for me because more of the falls is cut off - in all of them I want to see more of the falls. Did you happen to shoot a lower shot to merge into a pano?
Thanks Jim, I agree with your thoughts. I like the clouds in the 2nd but they do make the image busy. The first image had the best composition I could come up with while guessing where the stars would be. If I'd known where things would line up I would have aimed down a touch more. The 3rd was definitely compromised to focus more on the sky.

I didn't shoot a pano. There were already enough long exposures to assemble this as is! I do have a portrait version though, which I hope to edit tonight.
 

Mike Lewis

Staff Member
Staff member
Well any of the 3 are fantastic, let's just start with that. I do like what the sky brings to the composition in the 2nd one, and the sky in the third one is very nice, plus after seeing that one I like seeing all of the tree on the right instead of cutting off the top of it. Hard to pick between 2 and 3 for me.

ML
 
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