These days, adventure photographers have to be willing to do just about anything to produce unique photography of famous natural icons like canyons and mountain peaks. Thankfully, landscape and astrophotographer Mark Lehrbass didn’t shy away from that challenge while photographing the Three Sisters in Oregon at night. See for yourself:
To create “Welcome to Earth,” Lehrbass first climbed North Sister, one of Oregon’s most beloved peaks, and camped out on the summit. Having previously scouted the perfect location from which to capture Earth’s galactic core so that it appeared to be “erupting” out of Middle Sister, an ancient stratovolcano, he knew exactly where to wait.
Lehrbass shot 14 four-minute exposures and stitched them together with Photoshop, cleaning up star streaks and light pollution with 1% flow layer masks and clone stamping. The scene actually looked fairly dull to the naked eye (see for yourself), but as Lehrbass explained, full frame cameras like his Nikon D810 have incredibly sensitive sensors and can even pick up colorful astrophenomena like airglow during long exposures.
“A properly exposed night picture (especially a huge panorama like this) will reveal details and beauty of our nighttime world that most likely will have been hiding in plain sight,” wrote Lehrbass. “It’s like using night vision goggles to see in the dark. It’s not cheating by altering reality. It’s just using technology to gain a perspective on reality that you’d normally be blind to.”
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