Interesting Photo of the Day: Northern Lights & Big Dipper

Not all places on earth are equally blessed. While some areas are extremely vast and empty, some are truly blessed with nature’s best offerings. Alaska surely seems to be the latter case as we can experience a diverse and wondrous range of landscapes in the region. Whether you’re visiting the area during summer or winter, you can enjoy unique views of Alaska’s beauty. And we’re not only taking about landscapes. The magical Northern Lights and the fantastic view of the night sky during clear weather conditions make visiting Alaska an extraordinary experience. Photographer Sam Oas took the following image which gives a hint of what Alaska has to offer:

big dipper on Alaskan Sky

“Northern Lights and the Big Dipper” by Sam Oas (Via Reddit. Click image to see full size.)

Oas shot the image on a Sony a6400 with the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 lens. The image is a composite of three images each shot with a 15-second exposure, ISO 100 at f/1.4. He took each photo back to back, with the only exception being that he shined his flashlight at the road for two seconds during one exposure. As for the processing, he used Starry Landscape Stacker to emphasize fainter stars and remove noise. This also helped him to make the presence of the band of aurora a bit more prominent. Finally, to make the stars of the Big Dipper stand out from the rest, he used a range mask in Lightroom then set the mask to luminance to individually select the stars. He then increased the highlights and exposure.

His idea of shining some light on the road worked out in a brilliant way. The illumination of the road lines pulls you right into an already epic shot. It’s a perfect example of how you can use leading lines in your images. And although it seems that the lines lead to darkness, if you pay close attention you can see the layers of mountains in the background. And that’s not all – the beautiful glow of the Aurora Borealis adds to the charm of the image. Then we have the marvelous Big Dipper smiling down at us for the cherry on top.

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