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!
Critiques | Translate
Subhogen (4065) 2014-01-25 3:20
A Sting-Ray is what came to me mind when I saw this photo, glad to read your note and find out that it is someone from the Ray family at least.
Excellent capture of the statue at night. I like the well lit BG specially those palms. The twinkling stars in the sky looks very nice and fills that empty sky which came into the frame because of your upward pointing POV. Nice one, thanks for sharing.
saxo042 (37578) 2014-01-25 8:10
Another interesting work of art here. A fine nightly view with all the starts above. Have you had snow in Austin?
Noel_Byrne (24852) 2014-01-25 8:57
I remember being in a plane over the Atlantic and seeing a ray in the sea, quite close to the surface, and it was gigantic! Such strange creatures, so no surprise that they are a good subject for a sculptor.
You have done a beautiful job once again on this, and presented it almost like an alien creature. This is enhanced by the night sky, looking to me like space that this alien has just come from. The colors are wonderful and the stars like little pins of magic light. A very fine result.
And I must apologize Russ, I know you so kindly invited me to look at your amazing set of 81 images, and I am really sorry I have not gotten around to mailing you about them yet. I have started a new job which is taking all my free time at the moment. I want to make sure I take a good time to comment on the album you have posted, as they are an incredible group of pictures, and so many of them actually inspire real emotion in me, and I want to convey that to you properly. I am grateful that you shared the link, as I have spent a lot of time studying your fantastic results of this project.
All the best
rigoletto (34269) 2014-01-25 9:37
you have a concept in your la paz photos: flying statues. i like how you placed those artworks in front of heavens, abstracting them from the dust of soil. maybe this was already the ambition of the artist himself: i feel it in the dolphin, whale and mantaray works. thinking further, those creatures are the only big ones living in the ocean but having some acts close to flying. whales and dolphins jump (as they have lungs to breathe), but manta rays are bird like fish, "flying" in the ocean. you combined this flying issue well with orion constellation. one funny thing is, i always thought mantas looked like UFOs, and the UFOs have good connection with orion, according to UFO theorists. now you have a manta UFO next to orion. so, this one becomes a unique photo making a relevant story out of irrelevant elements, at least for me.
ourania (32127) 2014-01-25 10:58
this is a great photo, original and artistic in itself, not a mere presentation of the artwork. It's fascinating for the viewer to go from photo to note and back, following the thought behind and the procedure of creating this result. In my opinion, you have done excellent technical work, your composition has a lovely mild dynamism and the colour combination is unusual and charming. The hues and textures of the background in association with the artwork, make me think of the sea and then I look above and see the stars. The depth and density of the night sky as well as the definition and colour of the stars are wonderful. I'm no expert in any of the artistic or scientific fields that are at work (and play) here but I appreciate your photo and relative information very much. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a great weekend,
mcmtanyel (14123) 2014-01-25 13:05
It sounds like you put a lot of work in this. The sky is indeed gorgeous.
Waylim (25360) 2014-01-26 15:52
Considering I live in So Cal, I should have been to Mexico many a times already, but I have only been once and it is a very strange experience, I've travel far and seen many different third world countries. Flying for hours and mentally prepared, but just to cross the bother from San Diego and the whole world just change within minutes is a bizarre experience.
Anyway, this is an interesting shot, the sculpture of the mantarray look like a space ship against the starry night sky. It would even look more so without the landscape, if you were to have sit down lower and avoided the landscape all together. The land keeps us grounded on earth.
Good night shot with good exposure.
jcpix (13688) 2014-01-26 20:35
O.K., I'll give 'em 2 meters, but if they go any higher or longer out of the water I'm going to start shooting! I'll cut this one some slack too since he's actually affixed to a post. :) Whatever you've picked up since obtaining your new equipment and conversations with others is paying off in droves, this is awesome!
It's the three separations of color/light that have me entranced with this shot, precise layered effect which enhances the depth and that true sensation of being out under the stars. For me it seems a night shot always ends up with nothing but those pesky red tones, but you've managed that sublimely. I particularly like the fact that the stars are not all stark white, their color makes for an added attraction.
The whole of the imagery almost looks something from a planetarium light show, this has quite a different vibe about it...and one that I'm rather enjoying. Chalk up another winner! Take it easy.
nikkitta (14858) 2014-01-28 11:56
How dificul , from the point of view of light , capture, goood pp work helps to created an atractive contrast with the sculpture at the front
also good is l¿the golden light of vegetation
Interesting and creatice workk
Mis felicitaciones experto en fotos nocturnas
UlfE (14641) 2014-02-08 13:18
I really enjoy your photos and your experimention you describe in your note. The photo you originally planned for was not an easy one to take. Moonlight is is very much like a street lamp, quite strong light, that very easy becomes over-exposed if it is too dark and the exposure time is too long. The sculture is only illuminated by a street lamp and altough nearby still quite far away from the suculpture. This makes it quite difficult to get both the sculpture and the moon correctly exposed.I would most likely have concentrated on taking a good photo of sculpture, which is the main subject and ignored the moon and probably waited until it was completely obscured by clouds. I actually find the light on the statue from the street lamp very attractive. I think I would have tired made sure to get perfect focus on the closed part of the sculpture and used a f-stop high enough to get a good depth of field. Most likely I would also have made sure the sky was blue rather than black by taking the photo before it had got too dark. When it comes to your main photo my impression is that the sculpture is slightly blurred and also here I would first and foremost have tried to get perfect focus on the sculpure and after that tried to get also the starry sky correctly exposed. Having said that I still like your photo very much. It is a marvelous statue and you have captured the starry sky perfectly. TFS and have a nice weekend!
eldancer1 (28513) 2014-05-28 14:28
I like the result of your experiment and very unusual statue but the rays are very interesting creatures. If I were to shoot this timed-exposure I would use a smaller lens opening like f/9 to give me more dof. Otherwise, well done, tfs.
- Copyright: Russ Ham (EstudioChispa) (2000)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2013-12-06
- Categories: Artwork
- Camera: Nikon D5000, Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM
- Exposure: f/5.6, 30 seconds
- Details: Tripod: Yes
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Date Submitted: 2014-01-24 9:42