Taylor Franta's picture

The Heavens Above

Don't go crying wolf just yet... I am admitting to this being a composite from the get go. My general rule is that I will not composite images taken in different locations but this is one exception I had to make.

I have been to False Kiva 4 times in the past year with every intention of doing a shot similar to this at night. I ran into 2 problems:
1) I did not have a lens wide enough for this. This scene was shot as a single row pano with my UWA. I shoot crop and my widest lens at 10 mm is still not wide enough to cover this scene in a single shot which would make photographing the Milky Way more difficult.

2) I own a star tracker to get exceptional Milky Way shots and wanted no less for this shot. However, those trackers need to be aligned with Polaris which is hidden once inside this location. It is probably possible to align the tracker without this star visible but I lack the expertise to do this with any degree of accuracy.

Soooo, a composite must do to give the result I wanted. Interestingly enough I never got around to the composite until months after I shot these two scenes.

Foreground: False Kiva, Canyonlands
Milky Way: Shot outside of Grand Junction, CO

14mm · f/6.3 · 1/25s · ISO 80
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Dan McClanahan's picture

I love this... I envision The Lorax standing in that rock circle.

Christian Bravo's picture

Music to my ears when someone shoots professionally with non-professional-considered equipment. This shot is superb - extremely epic!, congratulations for the "Photo Of The Day". Photos like yours are what thrives me to go out there and keep shooting!

Chris Himstedt's picture

Like them both, but love them together.

Jeremie Montessuis's picture

Wonderful picture..

Kerry Moore's picture


Rob Lindsay's picture

Love this! But why did you shoot the sky from insidehecave if you were going to composite it anyway, if you needed the gear to track Polaris?

Cezary Korsieko's picture

Amazing shot!

Spy Black's picture

Great comp dude!

Carl Rogers's picture

one word "WOW".

Robert Huerbsch's picture

you can polar align without polaris visible via the drift align technique, but it takes 30-60 min : |

MIKE TAYON's picture

Wondrous! Surreal! Idyllic! Great Work! :)

Jean Dawkins's picture

this a great image well done

chris bryant's picture

Thanks for "fessing" I appreciate and value the honesty. You have made a fabulous image.

Larry Bell's picture

Absolutely gorgeous!
Compositing is an art form, the only time I have a problem with it is when presented as reality.
Well done