Surprise Cloud Formation - decision therefore between stacked and single

Sitting under the sky as darkness falls and the stars start to peak through is the best form of medicine I could have asked for after lockdown.

Here’s a couple of version of images taken from a timelapse I took last week. I hadn’t even planned it that way, I just started a timelapse going about an hour before I needed it, so that I could go experimenting in other directions (Comet Neowise and MilkyWay) without worrying about the time.

Because it was anticipated that I’d stack 20 images as I normally would for a night shot, my settings were 6 seconds at ISO 6400 (f2.8) so I wouldn’t have intended on using just a single image. However the cloud formation was just a standout win for me. I felt the colours also worked well during the nautical twilight (it never really gets darmk here in Scotland in the summer)

What technical feedback would you like if any? All and Any

What artistic feedback would you like if any? All and Any

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

Image 1 = 6" ISO 6400 f2.8.

Image 2 = the same, but 12 images stacked. I then blended back in the single cloud as I like the texture which I felt was lost a little in the blended version. (Stacked in Starry Landscape Stacker)

If you would like your image to be eligible for a feature on the NPN Instagram (@NaturePhotoNet), add the tag ‘ig’ and leave your Instagram username below. Prefer not to be featured with this one thanks as I’ve not released it myself.
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Fascinating image. I prefer the 2nd, more stylistic image for it’s greater simplicity and directness. I guess these are fields of lavender? The question is do you benefit from the stretched clouds on the right. I think they’re fine. It’s an interesting combination of every in sharp focus vs that vague cloud . It really makes you stop and think.

I tried brightening up the central cloud. Don’t know if that’s such a good idea. Part of it’s attraction is a bit of an ominous side to it.

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Thanks @Igor_Doncov :heart:

What a splendid creation! The composition and exposure work beautifully.
I enjoy the first image; the clouds trailing off add a bit of motion. The second image is more graphical and punchy.
In the attachment, I dodged the center rows of lavender - more so the center row, less the next rows. Also dodged the somewhat firm boundary between the light edge of the cloud and the darker core. And healed out the fine wispy clouds in top left. Where in Scotland is such an expanse of lavendar?

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Hi Vikki - I prefer the sky in your first image but the lavender field seems a little more vibrant in the second.

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Thanks @Dick_Knudson. Nice tweaks.
This is a fairly new (only five years) lavender setup by a farm who are starting to use it for making oils and soaps. It’s in Kinross, Fife and I’m going to help them plan some photography sessions for sunrise, sunset and perhaps run some Astro workshops for them next year.

Super nice image, love the color palette and the symmetry. I prefer the first image. I like the streaking clouds in the upper right that offset the symmetry a bit. The second version seems to have a light halo around the cloud with no visible reason for it to be that way. The first has a light source on the left just above the lavender that together with the upper right clouds gives me a nice left to right sense of movement. Love the deep purple blue of the field, and Dick’s dodging of the center rows is a great idea.

What a mystical and enigmatic image! You have created a real winner here that has stories with multiple plots. Is the question, what lurks over the horizon as the striped lavender gradually reaches to and beyond the horizon? Do the forward and upward moving lines of lavender lead us into the other-worldly cloud clad with mysterious mountains – the main subject of the image in which the surround of stars provide the perfect astro setting? The image invites the imagination to run wild. Wonderful. One insignificant nit: might you add blue to the white streak of light on the right just as it meets the horizon? I think this is a rogue highlight the slightly distracts. I prefer your first image. Thanks for the photographic adventure.

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Thanks so much for your thoughts @Larry_Greenbaum. I think you’re right about the cloud streak on the right hand side. It slightly bothers me so I’ll take another look at that.

I actually meant the white streak on the left. I must have been using my right hand when I wrote right. Sorry.

Better, or does it need a bit more?

I think it is better; the important thing is what you think. Thanks for following up with me.

No problem. This was actually the version I meant to post as I’d worked it myself.