Tekapo - Image Heavy

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by wjiang, Sep 24, 2015.

  1. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    I just spent a long weekend in Tekapo, planned around a university alumni trip to Mt John Observatory (the observatory is run in part by my Alma mater, the University of Canterbury). Here are some photos from various places in the region. I'll have to break it into parts due to the per post upload limit. All images shot with the E-M1.

    Part 1. Along the Peninsula Walkway, Dawn to Dusk and Beyond

    The view east at sunrise, towards Mt Dobson.
    O12-50, stitch panorama.

    Lake Tekapo in the morning, featuring Motuariki Island.
    O12-50, stitch panorama.

    View north late afternoon.
    O12-50, stitch panorama.

    View south at sunset, featuring Mt John and ominous rain clouds.
    O12-50, stitch panorama.

    Golden hour, just as it was about to rain on me.
    O12-50, stitch panorama.

    Aurora Australis over Tekapo Township.
    7.5FE, 6x stack.

    Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds.
    7.5FE, 8x stack.

    Moonshine - the seeing was not as impressive as it could be.
    7.5FE, 9x stack.
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  2. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    Great series!
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  3. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Part 2. Lakeside
    Out and about the various lakes around Tekapo. I tried my first day time long exposures on this trip (used a Haida 10 stop ND).

    Beautiful but cold morning outside our cabin.
    PL15, wide open.

    Lake Tekapo, outside our accommodation.
    7.5FE, 3x HDR

    Swan lake.

    Lake McGregor
    O12-50, stitch panorama.

    Northern Lake Alexandrina.
    O12-50, 10s at f/13 with the 10 stop ND.

    Geese at the southern end of Lake Alexandrina.

    View across the southern end of Lake Alexandrina.
    O12-50, 4s at f/11 with the 10 stop ND.
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  4. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Part 3. Mt John Observatory
    We were taken on a private tour of the facilities by some retired staff, as well as Graeme Murray, the founder of Earth & Sky.


    Outside the Astro Cafe.

    The main 1.8m MOA telescope.

    Gathering for a walk around Mt John.

    Graeme Murray telling stories about the McKenzie Country.
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  5. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Much appreciated. The Peninsula Walkway was quite an experience. Being on a barren hill in -3°C is pretty tough - E-M1 worked just fine through thick gloves (except when trying to change lens) but the batteries took a beating, had to repeatedly swap them out and put them inside my jacket to warm them up. At that temperature even carbon fibre is freezing cold, so I was glad my Sirui had foam padding on the legs!
  6. Starfleet

    Starfleet Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 14, 2015
    Michigan, USA
    Really beautiful work.
    Did not imagine the 12-50 was a good lens, but from your pictures the result seem extremely good across the frame.
    Out of curiosity, with the 7.5 fish eye, how long was each exposure to take that awesome shot of the milky way?
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015
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  7. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Wow, beautiful place, beautiful pictures. Dammit, my bucket list just got longer (and I'm not getting younger!).
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  8. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Regarding the 12-50, it actually isn't that great for sharpness across the frame. It just happens that I shot most of those a) stopped down a bit b) at 12mm rather than zoomed in (the lens is better wide) and c) by stitching I'm only really using the middle of the frame (certainly not the corners), the extra resolution also helps. TBH the PL15 would have probably given sharper results but I kept using the 12-50 for the threat of rain etc. One of these days I might upgrade to the 12-35 or 12-40 ;-)

    The first one of the aurora was 20s, the last two were 30s. All f/3.5, ISO1600. The first one was more underexposed than I would have liked but I needed a shorter exposure so the aurora would have a bit more definition. You can see in the last two they are pretty much a blur. The f/1.8 Pro fisheye would have worked wonders I suspect.
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  9. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    If you do, just make sure you stay overnight. The usual day tourist run past the iconic church really doesn't do this area justice. Just be aware that mountain weather is extremely variable - of the three nights I stayed one was clouded over, one night it snowed, one was completely clear.
  10. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 27, 2011
    Seoul, South Korea
    Great shots, love the detail in the clouds. I know too many who would shy away from shooting on an overcast day. Out of curiosity as it's something I'd like to start playing around with, for your stacked shots with the 7.5FE, what software were you using? PS or one of the dedicated astrophotography programs. And if you don't mind, what's your basic PP workflow for it?
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  11. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Masterful work!
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  12. gr6825

    gr6825 Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 10, 2012
    Your stacked 7.5mm shots look great!
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  13. PeeBee

    PeeBee Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 17, 2012
    Great work and I'm amazed by the sense of depth that some of these shots have. It's like I could just walk into the frame :thumbup:
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  14. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Nice set!
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  15. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    I think it's a common realisation - interesting weather makes for interesting landscape photos. Only challenge is to dress appropriately and to not be caught out by it.

    As for PP, I use DeepSkyStacker to stack once with star alignment, once for the ground, and combine the two stacks in PS to give a single 32-bit file with sharp stars and ground. Then it's just normal PP using the ACR dialog from PS. I've described the basic workflow in this earlier thread and one linked from it: https://www.mu-43.com/threads/76709/

    I use Hugin to reproject the fisheye into a more natural looking projection, then finally do some warping (you can't fit that much Milky Way and still have a normal looking composition even with a fisheye, so it requires pointing the view up and fixing the bowing later) and final adjustments back in PS. The first one is actually the straight fisheye without Hugin or warp applied, you can see how little of the Milky Way is in frame in comparison.
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  16. gr6825

    gr6825 Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 10, 2012
    A very creative (and rigorous) process, and the end result is wonderful. I very much like the creativity expressed in your choice of how to create the composites.
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  17. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    Great landscapes. You have captured some very nice light. Well done.
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  18. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Great shots. Loved the Milky Way ones, but all are great. A beautiful and somewhat desolate place. What a great adventure.
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  19. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    nice use of the FE lens too. I can never get shots that don't look fishy....
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  20. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Can't think of another word besides "Epic". Fantastic series!
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