Chruch of the Good Shepard

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


Jan… 11, 2019. 11:30 PM. – The Church of the Good Shepherd, situated on the shores of Lake Tekapo on the South Island of New Zealand, amongst the natural beauty of the lake and the mountains.
Before we departed on our trip to Australia and New Zealand I had done extensive planning for this photo. Using Photo Pills I determined that it should be possible to find a location near the church that would allow me to have the Southern Cross, which is part of the southern Milky Way, directly above the church. Using my Gigapan to capture a wide sky view I had also planned to include the Magellanic Clouds. The day we arrived we went out to the church’s location around 5pm and I fired up the Photo Pills app on my phone and found the location which would give the correct location to set up my camera. Then about 10pm we went back and I carried my equipment to that location and set it waiting for Moon to set at 11pm.

Specific Feedback

Noise in the lower foreground area was difficult to deal with.

Technical Details

Image was shot with Sony A7Rii, Sigma 24-70mm lens @ 35mm, f/2.8, 13 sec. exposure, ISO 3200. It is made up of 30 images, 3 rows x 10 columns approximately 33% overlap in portrait orientation.

The original image is: 247 Mega-pixels, 13283 x 18596 pixels, 44" x 62" 300 PPI cropped image size. Pre-processing was done with ACR. Stitching with PTGui and post processing in Photoshop.

1 Like

John, this is an impressive (and expressive) view, with a decent balance between the light in the church and the stars. I am suprised at how sharp the stars are given a 13 s exposure @ 35 mm. Does your system pan with the stars or automatically adjust for star movement?

Mark, no my system does not pan with or follow the stars. The reduction in size from the original image does a lot towards sharpening the stars. In the original full sized versions the stars aren’t perfectly round. I choose to expose longer rather than use a higher ISO. I had found that anything over ISO 3200 on the Sony A7Rii was too noisy.
I understand that it is rare to have a chance to shoot this church with the lights on that late in the evening. They were actually quite bright so I had to do a quite a bit of Burning with the Dodge & Burn tool to get the lights darkened to an acceptable level.

Hi John.

That is a great image. The multiple shots really give it a sense of space and do a nice job of showcasing the stars. They are very nice and sharp. Im not picking up a lot of noise in the foreground? Its nice when a photopils plan comes together.

A heroic job!! The light is balanced so nicely between the FG, the church and the sky. The clouds add a suitably mysterious element. Well done!

The planning paid off nicely. Well composed. I like the presence of some clouds to set it apart from so many nightsky images that have no clouds. I also don’t see any noise in the foreground, although it is hard to tell with the low luminosity, which feels appropriate for the scene and time of day.