Crazed Earth by Steve Cullen
Steve Cullen's picture

Crazed Earth

July 3, 2017

The mud flats of the Alvord Desert are an astounding puzzle of polygonal shapes broken up by even smaller geometric features. These mostly six-sided cells are formed as the seasonal lake evaporates leaving the mud behind to dry and crack. Potters intentionally work to recreate this pattern in their artwork through a technique called "crazing". To witness this effect applied to our planet's surface on such a grand scale is a sight to behold.

This nightscape, while relatively simple in composition, is one of the most technical images that I produce. It includes two separate focus blended foreground images, one lit and the other unlit. The two foregrounds are then overlaid to create a unique highlight and shadow profile that cannot be achieved in post processing alone. This technique gives subtle depth to an otherwise mostly flat appearing surface. The sky is comprised of a dozen 15-second images that have been star aligned, stacked, and median combined to deliver the equivalent of a 3-minute tracked exposure.

15mm · f/2.8 · 180s · ISO 1600
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