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Photographer's Note

Another of the statues that decorate the Malecón in La Paz! This one depicts the Manta Ray, a creature (or family of creatures, as they are many species) that holds great fascination for their appearance of winged flight underwater.

But the mantarrayas of the Sea of Cortez -- genus "mobula" -- will also appear to "fly" through the air! The numbers seem unbelievable, but these animals can grow to more than 5 meters, weigh more than a ton, and breach two meters above the water! (all per Wikipedia)

Photographically, this was a night of experimentation. I wanted a shot with the setting crescent moon, but the clouds did not allow it. (I will post as a WS the best frame I got from that angle.) There was some ambient lighting -- a streetlight near the statue plus the row of lights up the Malecón itself. But the stars were out, and with thirty seconds of exposure, I was able to capture some of their light.

For processing, this was also a learning experience. Ultimately, the image you see here has very little significant processing -- I desaturated the reds in the hillside, as they will oversaturate in the long exposure. I also have not cropped this at all, as you may see from the slight bows of lens distortion on the edges of the frame.

My initial approach to highlighting the stars in the sky was to use a layer mask for the sky and take it to high contrast, but the result was obviously overprocessed, as all the color from the stars had been lost. Here, I have preserved some of the colors from the stars -- astronomy students will identify the stars of the constellation Orion (his "belt" is at the "front" of the manta ray) and can tell me if I have accurately shown the relative temperatures of their light!

Without the many valuable pointers from you, my friends, concerning night photography and long exposures, I would never have attempted this shot. THANK YOU ALL!

Russ
Austin, Texas

Miguel82, mcmtanyel, Subhogen, saxo042, rigoletto, auldal, ourania, jcpix, UlfE, edcone has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Russ Ham (EstudioChispa) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 223 W: 79 N: 434] (1902)
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