Here is a rework of the image, incorporating the feedback I received. I boosted the shadows in the foreground a bit but didn’t want to go too far because 1) it would reveal all the dead trees lining the edge of the lake, and 2) I wanted to retain a bit of the night darkness and not distract from what’s going on in the sky. I moved the bright meteor in the upper left in a bit as David suggested, and removed the tree poking into the right edge of the frame. I added reflections of the meteors onto the lake by doing a vertical flip, then distorting the flipped image to line up the stars and the Pleiades star cluster to match the actual reflection positions in the lake. Due to the distortion of the 20mm lens, a simple vertical flip of the sky would not line up correctly. I then reduced the brightness of the meteor reflections.
Critique Style Requested: Standard
The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.
Before arriving at this small lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, I had hoped to capture a composite image of several meteors radiating from the radiant point of the Perseid meteor shower. I used the PhotoPills app on my iPhone to frame the image so that the radiant point would arc from the horizon to the upper center of the sky as the night progressed. There were heavy clouds covering the entire sky when I arrived before sunset , but as twilight approached, they gradually thinned and dispersed. I took a shot late into twilight of the remaining clouds illuminated by light pollution to use as a base foreground image. To capture meteors, I used my intervalometer to continuously record images every 10 seconds for about 4 hours, resulting in over 1200 images. As I watched the sky during that 4 hour period, I saw many bright meteors streak across the sky, but very few seemed to be in what I estimated to be the field of view of my camera. I packed up at about 2am, somewhat disappointed that I didn’t capture the number of meteors that I had hoped. After returning home and reviewing my images on my PC, I was pleasantly surprised to count 47 meteors on the more than 1200 images. Many were small, but when combined into one composite image, I think they all contribute strongly to the dynamic of the final image, illustrating a clear radiant point from which the meteors appear to originate.
I am mainly interested in feedback on the overall processing of the image. It is a composite of over 50 separate images; one base foreground of the landscape at twilight, one of the clouds illuminated by light pollution, a base stacked sky image, and 47 frames with meteors rotated into their proper positions relative to the background stars. That’s a lot of processing to make everything look balanced. I am very pleased with the image, but I would welcome others’ comments.
The camera used was a Nikon Z7ii mirrorless with a Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S lens.
Foreground image: 15 sec, f/11, ISO 1250
Clouds image: 10 sec, f/1.8, ISO 6400
Background stars image: 15 exposures, 10 sec, f/1.8, ISO 6400, stacked in Stary Landscape Stacker
Meteors: 47 exposures, 10 sec, f/1.8, ISO 6400
Adobe Lightroom was used for the initial raw image adjustments
Stary Landscape Stacker was used to create a base background sky image to reduce noise.
Adobe Photoshop was used for combining separate images into one composite image. Meteors were rotated around a reference point approximating the position of the North Celestial Pole using the Free Transform tool. I made a small increase in the brightness of the meteors, and used the brush tool to dodge the brighter stars to make them have a slight glow.