This is an image of Ladyboot Arch, named for perhaps obvious reasons, shot in the Alabama Hills on the last night of the recent Star Circle Academy workshop.
Facing the snow-covered crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, seen through the arch, on a chill November night, I wanted to make an image that showed details in the arch, the sky, and the distant mountain range.
With bright moonlight coming from the left of the camera, but parts of the arch deep in shadow I knew that some pretty fancy footwork beyond star stacking would be needed to capture the extended dynamic range of the scene.
To learn more about night photography, check out the night category on my blog and the Star Circle Academy blog. If you are interested in star stacking, you may find the Stacker’s Checklist particularly helpful. The subtext here is that “stackers” are definitely not “slackers”.
All exposures 12mm, tripod mounted; background (star trails) forty-two one minute exposures at f/4 and ISO 200, combined using stacking; foreground (arch) three exposures (90 seconds at f/14 and ISO 200, 211 seconds at f/14 and ISO 200, and 390 seconds at f/8 and ISO 640) combined to HDR using Nik HDR Efex Pro; foreground and background combined in Photoshop using layers, masking, and the Paintbrush tool.