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Stars over Blue Lake: Eastern Sierra Nevada | by Ivan Sohrakoff
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Stars over Blue Lake: Eastern Sierra Nevada

This image is a stack of 54 individual 4-minute exposures over a period of 3.6 hours.


I recently returned from a backpacking excursion in the Eastern Sierra, near Bishop, California. It turned out to be one of the most frustrating trips I've ever experienced, due to swarms of unexpected (late, wet year) mosquitos making a meal out of me! Actually, a feast... I literally have hundreds of bites all over my body...grrrrr...


During the night, the mosquitos were still swarming me, so I wore a mosquito net around my head (and looked completely ridiculous). I probably ended up with twice as many bites as the friends I was with, due to my rambling around in the night shooting the full moon and stars.


This shot was made over about 3.6 hours, during a nearly-full moon. I pointed the camera away from the moon, and was able to get some startrails and lighted foreground in the same shot, which usually isn't the case. After stacking 54 images for the stars and sky, I used a single image for the mountains and water because the varying winds made the stacked water look really weird. I had to choose what kind of light and water I wanted from the 54 exposures. The bright moonlight made the stars almost invisible in the water, even when still, so I chose to use a foreground with wind. I think this best shows what the image would look like if it were a single long exposure as well.


ps. If anyone knows how to get rid of jagged lines in startrails when downsampling, let me know. I tried all methods of downsampling, and they all produced jagged lines.


Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 17-40L @17mm

54 individual 4-minute exposures @ F8

+ 1 foreground exposure

+ 1 noise reduction exposure

No filters

ISO 200

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Taken on July 24, 2010