I was visiting my friend Monica and were playing with her camera when we decided we needed to go out and shoot astro-photography together sometime. Well, it turns out it is set to snow for the next week and last night there were clear skies and almost no moon. We ran and picked up my equipment and we rushed out to the St. Anthony Sand Dunes (Idaho) to get away from the lights of town.

Original Image

For the sake of time (since it takes a while for the camera to process these long exposures as is), I started shooting in just JPEG Fine but for this one I switched over to RAW+FINE for more editing capabilities. I wish now that I had just taken the time to shoot all of them in the higher format since there is just so much more you can do in post-production.

Original Image

This picture had a lot of “interference.” For one, there was a plane I didn’t notice before I started the exposure that was traveling through the frame. If I realized it was there, I probably would have reframed it so it would be more along the rule of thirds. As is, it adds some interesting movement.

Second, there were other cars in the parking lot where we were at and one of them turned on their brake lights. This caused the foreground to be highlighted in red light. While neither of these things were expected, they both added some interesting dimension to the image.

In post for this image, I used the “Crisp-Winter” Color Lookup Table (LUTS), added 37+ of Vibrance, dropped to Saturation by 18, and adjusted the curves for the highlights slightly. Cooling the image using vibrance and LUTS helped give some color and depth the black parts of the image.


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