Camping Under the Stars- McWay Falls

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    My take on a classic Big Sur shot. McWay Falls at Julie Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

    The orange glow under the tree is from some folks staying in the campground there.

    Arrived at the park shortly before sunset, but that was not what I was after. I visualized this shot in my head when I realized that looking at McWay Falls from the observation path was almost due south, which is where the Milky Way looks best.

    As I was waiting for the moon to set, I did some star trails and did a Venus setting trail that I will work on next. When the Milky Way "rose" to where it completed the composition (at midnight), I took a series of shots, two of which are combined here. The land and small inlet are a long exposure at low ISO. The Milky Way is a relatively short exposure at high ISO.

    At first, I was upset that campers were polluting the scene with stray light that I would have to Photoshop out, but now I think it makes the shot. Sometimes the photo-gods smile on you.

    Mark S Weaver, AndrewRose, and 43 other people added this photo to their favorites.

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    1. CircadianReflections Photography 27 months ago | reply

      Indeed they do. This is lovely. That golden glow of the fire looks beautiful with the silky water, and blues in this scene.
      I'm still chasing my "milky way" shot. Perhaps this will be the year for me.

    2. Chinniah P 27 months ago | reply

      Beautiful shot Rick!!!

    3. [ g-No ] 27 months ago | reply

      world class! well done!

    4. rahtenkhamen 27 months ago | reply

      Beautiful - hits on all cylinders.

    5. .Derrick:) 27 months ago | reply

      Very cool. Well done.

    6. Andy Frazer 27 months ago | reply

      Great job, Rick. I put a link to this shot onto my FaceBook page.

    7. Rick Whitacre 27 months ago | reply

      Wow. Thanks, Andy!

    8. Lance Keimig 27 months ago | reply

      That's really sweet Rick. Love it, and agree about the orange glow adding to it.

    9. AGrinberg 27 months ago | reply

      Excellent photo(s)!

      Found this via Andy F's on FB.

    10. ***Bud*** 27 months ago | reply

      Beautiful work!

    11. LEXPIX_ 26 months ago | reply

      Just awesome!

    12. Federico Senesi [deleted] 26 months ago | reply

      Amazing capture!

    13. S A C Kennedy 26 months ago | reply

      Great shot and yes the campers add not distract to the shot.

    14. PhotogLvr 25 months ago | reply

      So amazing!

    15. aggiewildlife 23 months ago | reply

      Incredible shot, Rick! Would you mind posting your EXIF data? I have a general idea of what you used for the Milky Way (something like 30 sec, ISO 3200-6400, wide open aperture), but I'm curious how you shot the foreground to get enough light. Was the exposure like 10 minutes or so at a moderate ISO? I'm heading there in June on the New Moon and am eager to try such a shot. If you wouldn't mind sharing your settings for the shot, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks, and again, terrific work!

    16. Rick Whitacre 23 months ago | reply

      Thanks, Aggie. The foreground shot was 8 minutes, f/2.2, ISO800. The Milky Way was 20 seconds at f/2.0, ISO3200.
      It's hard to get enough light on the fall with no moon. I also took shots of it while the moon was still up so I would have options, but ended up using the moonless shot because of the campfire.
      Good luck! Please send me a link to your image when you get it! You will have a much nicer Milky Way than I did. I will have to head back this summer and re-shoot this
      BTW, I used my Canon 24mm f/1.4 but had to back off to f/2 to try to control the coma flare on that lens. I have since changed to the Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 which I can shoot wide open.

    17. aggiewildlife 23 months ago | reply

      Thanks for the info, Rick! Well, since it will be even darker for me at the New Moon than it was for you, I should get great results for the Milky Way, but will probably have a harder time with the foreground. I'm guessing I'll need to expose for several minutes longer than you did. Or shoot the foreground during twilight. I will send you my image when done. Thanks again!

    18. leapin26 23 months ago | reply

      Incredibly unique shot of McWay Falls!

    19. Eric Dugan 16 months ago | reply

      Awesome shot Rick! Let me know if you ever want to try this again?

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