Roque de los Muchachos

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


A few weeks ago we spent some days on the island of La Palma.
Unfortunately, I picked the two nights for my nightscape photography that were not completely clear.
That night there were clouds over the horizon. But I still like the result.

Specific Feedback

Is there anything I can improve? As always, any feedback is welcome.

Technical Details


This image consists of three vertical shots (separate exposures for sky and foreground).
I stitched the panorama in LR, used Topaz Denoise AI for noise reduction, and processed it in PS.


Wonderful!! I think the clouds add to the drama, and the fog is such an unusual touch. You would have a wonderful image without any stars but they definitely take the scene up several levels. I love that there is soft pink in both the MW and the clouds.

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I can’t think of anything to improve. Amazing conditions with the cloud inversion and some clouds on the horizon (a perfectly clear sky is not always the most interesting night sky!), well composed, and the person to provide a sense of scale. Beautiful image.

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@Diane_Miller, @DeanRoyer
Thank you very much for your feedback. I really appreciate your kind words.

The soft pink may result from the Astro-modified sensor. I’m still struggling with the altered white balance sometimes.

Yes, that’s true. At first, I was slightly disappointed about the clouds when I arrived at the top of the mountain in the night after a two hours drive.
Now I quite like the effect of the clouds. They work similarly to a Starglow filter.

Jens, you’ve got a great mix of clouds, stars, mountains and human. Both a bit of luck mixed with careful planning and execution. I’m amazed at how much detail is showing in the foreground rocks. You’ve also got lots of interesting things going on in the sky, with both the Milkyway and hints of dawn.

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Hi Mark,
thank you very much for your feedback.

These shots were taken with a 12 MP Full frame sensor. It collects an incredible amount of light. So for the foreground, 60 seconds with ISO 10000 was quite enough.

Definitely shows the fundamental physics of chip sensors…bigger pixels = more light gathering ability. The opposite of what all of the camera manufacturer’s push.

@Jens_Ober This looks great! The clouds add a very nice element to the scene, and the low cloud layer contrasts nicely against the bare rocks. I even like the small figure in the frame to give a sense of scale. Out of curiosity, what camera were you using? Did you shoot just two exposures for each frame in the pano, or did you do an image stack?

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Thank you very much for your feedback.

I was using a Sony Alpha 7S II. It has a 12 MP full-frame sensor, it’s a lowlight monster.

Yes, I shot only two exposures for each frame in the Pano. One exposure with 15s, ISO 6400, and one exposure with 60s, ISO 10000.

In case you’re interested, I’ve uploaded a RAW file that I shot for the foreground:
DSC06125.ARW (24.0 MB)
In my opinion, there is little reason to stack the foreground with that camera.

I probably would have stacked the sky or used my star tracker, but because of the moving clouds, the result wouldn’t have been as good.

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@Jens_Ober, thanks for sharing the camera info and the raw file! For MW images, with my Nikon D850 I usually shoot 5-10 frames, 10 seconds each, at f/2.8 and ISO 6400 and stack using Starry Landscape Stacker. I can get away with one image only if I use DxO Prime Raw for the raw conversion. I have not tested out the new noise reduction feature in LRc and ACR yet.

Man, this is a wonderful image! I love how the cloud cover just fits within the rocks, as if it were a white lake and the Milky Way above is just awesome. The pink glow is beautiful, even though you say you struggle with the adapted sensor and WB. It’s different and really nice. The little figure is perfectly placed and gives a great sense of scale. I’m sure Caspar David Friedrich may have dreamt up such night scenes himself!

Just one thing that caught my eye. I am not sure whether it’s due to web sharpening or some such, but I seem to see a white fringe/halo particularly along the rocks to the left and right of the figure.

Dave Kelly has a nice trick to get this done quickly with the clone tool set to Darker Color blend mode (you will need a full pixel layer for this). Anyway, here’s the link to the video:
PHOTOSHOP QUICK TIP: A Simplified Approach to Removing Light and Dark Halos - YouTube

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Hi Laura,
thank you very much for your feedback and your kind words.
I really appreciate that.

And thank you for your eagle eye. I will take care of the halos.

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