Crazed Earth by Steve Cullen
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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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