MilkyWay over HighSierra

I took this image this past summer on a Night Scape workshop. I love taking photos of the night sky. My intent was to take an image of the milky way over a favorite location in the High Sierra. I wanted it to feel like I was sitting in a chair, and watching the night unfold.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.
  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

Overall I am very pleased with this image. My goal is to print it and display it on my wall. I am struggling with the temperature of the light painted on the foreground. I go back and forth with warm and a bit cooler.
I am interested in feedback regarding colors and any night post processing techniques .

Technical Details

This image was taken with
On a tripod
Z 12-24mm lens Aperture is 20mm
20 secs
light painted
ISO 1600
Processed in LRC
Little Topaz DeNoise and Sharpening


Wow, that’s very cool! The colors look fine to me, but I know nothing about processing night-scapes. My only comment would be to burn the light boulders near the lower corners. They pull my out those directions a bit.

Hi Gina This is a really strong photo. I particularly like the position of the trees relative to the milky way. I agree with @Bonnie_Lampley about burning the rocks a little at the edges of the frame. Your idea of slightly cooler light painting may have some merit.

Hi Bonnie,
Thank you for your feedback, I will definitely burn the bright rocks near the edges. Good feedback for me to always double check the edges.

Thank you Gina

Hi Richard,
Thank you for your feedback, I am going to burn the edges to keep the viewers eye in the photo. I will use LR to see if i can choose the color via color range and cool it off a bit.
Thanks again Richard


Wow!! I think this is exceptional! The lens has given you a very nice lack of distortion in the corners and you composed the MW so nicely with the tree and mountains. The processing looks very natural and you brought out the lovely fingers of dust reaching out from the galactic center to Antares. I love the light painting colors and the detail in both the tree and the stars is stunning!

My only very small suggestion would be to consider lightening the UR corner just a bit, and perhaps darkening the UL a tiny bit to match. Definitely worthy of a big print!

Hi Diane,
Thank you for your feedback, I appreciate it. I will definitely lighten the UP corner, now that I relook at the image, your suggestion will give the sky some balance. The lower left will also be adjusted as some of the other feedback is to burn the light on the boulders which is also on the lower left.

All the best

Gina, you accomplished your goal by quite a large margin. What an outstanding image that to me is not only a strong composition but also artistically involving. And, I think your processing is spot-on.

I did note something on the second highest peak about a third of the way from the top that looks like a small snow field but that doesn’t seem likely given the time of the year you took this. Is it snow or possibly just an errant artifact?

Hi Doug,
Thank you for your feedback and compliments.

I did verify, it is snow. The image was taken around 8k feet, off Tioga Rd.

Thanks again

Excellent, you and your new Z9 did the job proud.

I echo what others have said already. An image definitely worthy of a large print. Regarding your question about colors, I personally would gravitate toward warmer foreground color to contrast with the cool night sky. But it comes down to what you want to convey with your processing choices.

Compositionally I think you did a fine job - I like that you havent over processed the sky - something very common in Astro landscape photography

Like some of the others pointers - watch the bright areas especially around the edges