Radar Base Milky Way

Image Description

This is a milky way image from an abandoned Cold War-era early warning base on top of a mountain in Vermont. Fairly remote location for Vermont and pretty creepy. Abandoned since 1963 or so.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.

  • Conceptual: Feedback on the message and story conveyed by the image.

  • 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

Looking for whatever thoughts you have (comp, processing, etc). Thanks!

Technical Details

Two shot blend. Foreground shot during blue hour, sky shot with a tracker an hour or so later, same location. Nikon D850/14-24. Pretty wide, can’t remember exactly. Maybe 16mm.

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Hi Mark,
what a beautiful nightscape image. I like the processing. Did you reduce the stars? And the blend looks perfect, even in the areas where the trees reach into the sky.

I also like the composition. The Milky Way is nicely framed by the trees and the buildings on each side. And the street leads the eye straight to the beautiful night sky.

Maybe I would try to crop the image at the bottom. The foreground doesn’t add too much to the image.

When I see your picture, I realize how I missed photographing the night sky. Well done!

Thanks! Definitely struggled a bit finding a comp that night. I run a minimum filter to bring the stars down a bit. I will try cropping out some of the foreground, thanks!

Wonderful! The lens is giving you perfect stars in the corners and you have a wonderful sky with very low noise. A very nice job of compositing the two exposures, too.

The sky is so nice, I long to see more of it. I agree with @Jens_Ober that the FG story doesn’t need so much of the frame. I think if the camera had been aimed higher it would increase the importance of both the FG and the sky, odd as that may sound.

From your northern latitude, the Milky Way is more interesting in spring, when it is rising to the east. It will be at more of an angle, and the interesting galactic center will be a little more visible. You have the gear and processing skills to do some very nice night sky images.

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Thanks! Aiming upward is a good tip! I agree the comp would be stronger with less foreground.
Unfortunately things are pretty brown here until late May, so we are pretty limited for spring shooting. The high pressure systems that result in good milky way weather are a summer thing, generally. April showers bring May flowers… Usually the entire galactic center is visible during the summer, this location is at a few thousand feet on a mountaintop which led to the bottom of it being cut off a bit by the elevated horizon. It would all be visible in most locations.

I like the overall luminosity and color treatment. I agree with @Jens_Ober and @Diane_Miller about trying an alternate crop.

Thanks! The season will start again soon, I will keep that in mind. Great to get feedback from everyone, very helpful. I shoot a lot of wide angle landscape and its easy to get in that frame of mind where you want to fill the foreground. Obviously that did not happen here…

Such a lovely, lonely, dark night feel here Mark. I agree about the foreground, but it’s a nit on a great image. I love the “sun star” (star star??) effect of the bright star peaking over the tree branch.