Tree of Life || Wanaka, New Zealand

View Spot on

View Spot on

In New Zealand on a clear day you can always see the milky way with the naked eye.  The low light pollution ensures you always get a beautiful show of stars when the sun goes down.  

The Wanaka Tree has hundreds of visitors everyday, which means there are alot of photos floating around.  For this shot I wanted to capture something unique that most have never seen.  Through planning I was able to determine exactly when the milky way would line up perfectly with The Wanaka Tree.  So I hiked up my shorts and stood in the freezing cold water while I captured this amazing vertorama.  The things we do to get the shot. 


Technical Stuff: 

CAMERA:    Sony A7R

LENS:    Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 - Shot at 14mm

TRIPOD:    RRS TVC-24L w/ BH40 Ballhead

HARDWARE:    11' Macbook Air Wacom Manga Tablet

SOFTWARE:    Capture One 9 - Photoshop CC 2015.5 - Nik Color Efex Pro 4

TAKEN:    September 20, 2016


Pano Shot 1 - ISO 2500, 30 Sec at F/2.8

Pano Shot 2

Pano Shot 3

Pano Shot 4

Pano Shot 5

Pano Shot 6

TECHNIQUE: First order of business was combining the panorama shots into one.  First I applied lens correction to all files as this was shot at 14mm which introduced alot of distortion.  Once the distortion was corrected I used Lightroom to merge the files together.  Once merged the "dehaze" feature in Lightroom was used to add more clarity to the milky way and the stars, then it was brought into Photoshop.  Contrast and Noise reduction was added using Nik Color Efex Pro and Dfine.  For the noise reduction a mask was used to ensure that no noise reduction was applied to the stars and the milky way.  This ensured they stayed sharp and crisp.

TIPS:     For Astrophotography the rule is to make sure that you shoot on a clear night and on a new moon.  But you don't always have to shoot on a new moon to get low light pollution.  If you research the Astronomical Twilight start and the moon rise time you can give yourself a short window to shoot Astrophotography.  This shot for example, Astro Twilight Started at 8:35PM and the moon rose at 10:30PM.  So that gave me 2 hours to get my shot.