I walked into this composition knowing that I was going to get only 1 image that would be composited later in post. I found my spot early, took a few shots to where I thought the MW was & to be sure that I was able to capture the beginning, core, & the tail of it. Made a few little adjustments & was happy with the exposure. I needed to be sure that the stars were in sharp focus, so I switched my lens into manual focus & using the focus peaking function on the Sony A7RIII, focused on a boat with a bright light shining on the horizon. Knowing where the MW was previously, I recomposed & did a final test shot & adjusted my comp to taste.
I then took about 4 shots, checked my focus & waited for about 20 minutes, twiddling my thumbs, until there was enough ambient light. A very important thing I had to remember, do not move my camera or tripod! This was very important as I didn't want any movement in the focal plane of the MW & the rocks. I now changed my focus point to the farthest rock in the midground, changed my aperture back to f/8, dropped my ISO to 100 & shutter speed to 30 seconds & used a 3 stop soft grad to bring down the brightness of the sky & not blow out the horizon & then took my shot. I just wanted the midground rocks & foreground to be in sharp focus with a usable exposure. I guess in a way I've applied 2 different techniques, exposure blending & focus stacking into this 1 image, 1st time I've tried it & in need of more practice for sure! Want to incorporate 1 more thing in next weeks MW shoot, my Sharp Star Filter, if weather permits with clear skies. The hardest part about blending these 2 images together was matching the foreground rock to the MW sky exposure. Having the dynamic range in these Sony files helped immensely!!!
The only thing about this shoot, is that I knew that I was going to walk away from this with 1 final image, so I couldn't move around to grab different compositions, interesting theory, so if I messed up I was going to get nothing for my MW shot. Planning all this took a lot of discipline, as I wanted desperately to move around & get more compositions but knew that if I did I'd screw the alignment when I’d layer the images in PS!!! Would I do this again? YES I would, next week...YES, YES, YES!!!
Aloha a hui hou my friends!
Copyright 2016 Ryan Sakamoto, All rights reserved