Stars and Joshua Trees +repost

Stars and Joshua Trees +reworked


Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


We got up at 2:00 a.m. to get here. It was cold, but that didn’t matter. This was taken during a photo workshop in Joshua Tree National Park.

Specific Feedback

This is my first attempt at doing a panorama of the Milky Way. I struggled to process the sky values and shades to make them look natural.

Technical Details

This was taken on a tripod with my Sony a7iv and an FE1.8/14 GM lens. It was shot at ISO 6400, f/8, and 5 sec.
Processed in LR into a panorama of 7 frames. Topaz denoise and luminosity masking in PS for final processing.

I am greatful to @Diane_Miller for her evaluation of the bright horizon on the right of the compostion. It was very bright and I struggled with a way to tone it down using luminosity masking. The result was not pleasing but I finally gave up and posted what I had. I have tried again to process it. Feedback as to the success or failure to tame that area would be appreciated. I feel it is still too bright now that I have posted it. It is much brighter than on my screen in PS.

Critique Template

Use of the template is optional, but it can help spark ideas.

  • Emotional Impact:
  • Mood Creation:
  • Composition:
  • Balance and Visual Weight:
  • Depth and Dimension:
  • Textures and Patterns:
  • Use of Color:
  • Lighting:
  • Subject and Genre:
  • Post-processing:
  • Technical Aspects:
1 Like

Hi Barbara,
I really like the composition. You did a great job of finding interesting rocks and trees nicely distributed across the frame. Getting the full arch of the Milky Way is just fantastic.

I always struggle with “natural” color in night scenes, so I’ll leave that to the experts. To me, this looks right and the light pollution at the bottom of the sky seems realistic. The challenge is to get it to look accurately dark but light and colorful enough to be interesting. In my mind, you achieve this. Eager to hear what others think too as I learn what works with night sky.

Thank you Marylynne, I really struggled with the light along the horrizon. It was very bright and dominated the composition. Your feedback is most appreciated.

Wonderful image!! Worth getting up “early” and braving the cold. You did a great job with a challenging subject! The FG is very nice and the colors and tonal range are fine. My only small nit is to wonder if the lower right is a bit too bright. There is something that may be a sensor spot there, too. There is some color posterization there, but it could just be from JPEG compression.