Phelps Mt wildflowers with the Milky Way centered of Mt Marcy and Colden at 3am on a June night
Here in the Adirondacks it sometimes feels that as photographers are not pushing ourselves as far as we can creatively and technically, compared to some other world-class photogs around the world. This photo is one of my recent attempts to correct this. It's the product of 16 hours on the trail including staying all night on the summit of a High Peak, hunkered down cold and buried my whole body under the scrub pines which blocked the wind a little through the night and was the only way I could get in position behind these flowers, waiting for the right position of the Milky Way at 3am and enough predawn ambient light to shine on the foreground at 4am, plus another ~10 hours spent editing and creating this vertical panorama composite. Technically to create this, I've blended ~8 foreground images focus stacked for the ground wildflowers, ~3 background images for the landscape to composite focus and ambient light, and ~3 Milky Way images to obtain the vertical 150 degree panorama from straight overhead, to the tiny ground wildflowers 6 inches away from the camera lens. So to create this I threw everything I know from all my years teaching photography into it - light painting, focus stacking, vertical panoramas, bulb mode long exposures, manual blending, masking, cloning, and more. This image is from an off trail hidden location around Phelps Mt summit with the Milky Way centered above Mt Marcy and Colden. Though these flowers were everywhere along the trails and in the forest, this was the only set of flowers on the mountain that was in the right position with a clear high enough view to the High Peaks without getting too much foreground, and slightly sheltered from the overnight breeze so they wouldn't blur in the 25 second exposures at night. An aluminum 78"x30" would be the recommended size and format for this image to appreciate the tack sharp detail all through and the night blues pop through. Original resolution 13700 x 5200 pixels.