Saturday, 8 December 2012

Quiver Trees by Night 1, 2 & 3

I finally got around to completing my third Panorama of the Quiver Tree Forest, as well as reprocessing the first one to bring out detail in the shadow regions. The three images now form a pleasing triple:

Quiver Trees by Night 1 - Canon 40D, Tokina 11-16, 6x30sec, f/2.8. ISO 3200, Nodal Ninja
Quiver Trees by Night 2 - Canon 40D, Tokina 11-16, 12x30sec, f/2.8. ISO 3200, Nodal Ninja
Quiver Trees by Night 3 - Canon 40D, Tokina 11-16, 16x30sec, f/2.8. ISO 3200, Nodal Ninja

Notice the Magellanic Clouds in the third image.

You may want to compare the first image with this earlier version.


There are still a few little incompatibilities between these three images, which I hope to rectify in the future. In particular, images 1 and 3 have a 5:2 aspect ratio, but image 2 is a bit wider. I could fix this by cropping images 1 & 3 a little. Alternatively, I might redo image 2 from scratch to include a bit more sky and foreground. This is would also resolve a slight difference in "look" to the images, which I suspect is caused by the fact that I use a little bit of Lightroom's fill light in images 1 & 3, but not image 2. See this older post describing how I made image 2. Let me know in the comments if you prefer the old look of image 2 or rather the new look of the other two.

In images 1 and 3 I also needed to cheat a little bit: I had to fill in some missing foreground with the clone stamp tool (can you spot it?), which means that there are certain competitions in which I cannot enter them. The lesson is: when making a panorama, shoot more than you think you need at the time!

Competition Blues

Speaking of competitions, I had a spot of drama in the Canon SA competition. The competition rules forbade the use of "composite or montage images, from more than one original image". When I entered, I was unsure if they would allow panoramas or not, but I gave it a try, thinking they probably meant to avoid things like this story. So I entered Quiver Trees by Night 2 into their "into the great wide open" category, and the judges chose it for the top ten in that category, which they posted on Facebook. The winner was then to be chosen by vote (not my favourite system - I dislike votes - but the prize on offer was too big to resist). Anyway, since the judges picked this image, as well as another panorama, I thought I had interpreted the rule correctly.

But then people complained, since panoramas clearly are composites of more than one image, and pointed out that many other panoramas (and HDRs) might have been entered but for the wording of the rule. Canon had no choice but to disqualify the two panoramas. You can imagine how upset I was, especially as the prize was a Canon 5D3! Anyway, Canon did send me an excellent CF card for consolation, and published my image, along with my blog entry as a Photoshop tutorial in their Click Magazine. So I didn't walk away empty-handed, but with dreams of what might have been.