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Submitted on
February 11, 2012
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Brecon Beacons by Alex37 Brecon Beacons by Alex37
Pen Y Fan is the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons and in southern Britain. At 886m it is diminuative by continental standard but can still provide spectacular views and unforgiving conditions.

Photographically 2012 did not get off to a good start for me. Of the trips I have been on perhaps 25% have produced any images at all. It's hard to keep going when you keep hitting bad weather! Our hike up to Pen Y Fan was no better. Freezing rain made for quite unpleasant walking conditions and my waterproof shell literally became a shell of ice! Once the tent was up (on the summit of Pen Y Fan because I try not to do things in half measures) we were fine though. It was cold but down jackets and sleeping bags soon warm you up, as does hot chocolate with a spot of whisky! The night went well and I got up every 3 hours to check the weather (it was cloudy but still all night). By 5.30am a gap had appeared on the eastern horizon and with the high clouds overhead an wonderful sunrise became almost certain.

Getting out the tent revealed just how cold it had been overnight with ice covering the tent but photography was the only thing on my mind. Donning my crampons I set off around Pen Y Fan in search of compositions....

5dmkII, 17-40L, ISO100, f11
5 vertical frames at 17mm bracketed with a 3 stop range. Stitched in PTGui and blended in Photoshop CS4

You can read a blog about what it took to get this image here: [link]
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Ionosphereimages Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Wow stunning shot!!
JeffStokely Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Professional
Yep. This is obscenely gorgeous
rachcedillo Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is simply majestic! :love:
DorotejaC Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Hello ! You've Been Featured :bulletred:HERE:bulletred: as the Best of February 2013 in #BeautyClub. Please take a look other artists work too :nod:

Thank you, :rose:
Absicola Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Stunning! :wow: Excellent photo :thumbsup::D
Alex37 Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you
Absicola Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome :D
euph0ria Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Absolutely stunning.

I use 3 pocket Canon cameras mounted on a custom rigged mount with (CHDK firmware installed) to program a script for an auto bracketing, and synch them to shoot together in perfect synch with a USB Trigger. I first have it take three bracketed images, and then repeat the mid-range 3 shots, then the longer exposures/shorter at higher ISO, 2-3 more shots to capture the shadows, then 3 more to capture the brights.
The first three to capture the necessities right away as things may be changing, and the rest are for photo stacking to improve whatever signal to noise there may be. Then I use a freeware program called Hugin to stack, and then to make panos. Of course my subject matter isn't nearly as beautiful.
But I can appreciate the process. The REAL power is the fact that CHDK, Cannon Hack Development Kit, makes it all possible by making the cameras programmable, and automated, where you need to do a number of things in a changing environment (clouds moving ever so slowly) fast, and in perfect synch, that would otherwise be impossible, the camera can all do in a matter of seconds. If the scene permits me I usually bracket in 5 stages if I can.
None of my equipment is on the pro-consumer end, so I have to do a lot of fancy post processing and photograph accordingly, but for the 5dmkII I think Magic Lantern is out that may be useful, many people swear by it, esp for video.

Even a 180-270 degree pano would be an incredible sight to see, not to mention full of detail at a very high res.

Anyway just sharing some feedback and appreciation for the post side of the photo. It's absolutely stunning and I gotta say, you're living my dream up there with all that beauty. Love to see more like this. Thank you for sharing all your amazing work.
Alex37 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks very much. It's interesting to read about your technique. At the moment I must confess that I dont really see how my capture technique could be improved by software. The bracketing sequence is already a custom function, all I really need to get right (aside from the composition!) is the initial exposure setting, which I would have to do anyway no matter what method I used! The liveview capture sequence is incredibly rapid, as is manually moving the camera to capture the next frame. Thanks for the suggestion though :)
euph0ria Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Well the difference being, I'm using a firmware (CHDK) that gives me the functionality of higher end cameras like yours to snap and shoot cameras, and further-more makes them programmable by allowing the end user to write pre-made scripts (such as in a text editor on your computer before hand and then added to the memory card) that can be selected from the firmware's menu. So it's capable of carrying out extremely complex tasks automatically, and quickly/or slowly as the case may be for software) My cameras aren't nearly as good as yours in terms of photo quality. My ISO 800 is going to look horrible compared to your camera's ISO 800, for example, so, I simply set it to burst mode and have it snap 8-10 photos very rapidly, and then stack the photos to get a nice clean photo. The firmware also supports many other things like motion detection which is fantastic for capturing things like lightning, or animals.
For example I have a script that captures lightning at a narrow Fstop and 80 ISO for 1/2 second or so, once it detects the strike, and the immediately follows up with a few shots at a higher ISO, 200/400 at a wide Fstop to capture the clouds, and then composite the images together for some wonderful, almost self-taking, hands free lightning photography, as the camera does all the work with it's motion detection. Oh, and as for bracketing, you can chose exactly how you want the image to be bracket. Sometimes I like finer granularity and have 5 levels of exposures. It helps with the signal to noise, and also HDR. You can chose to bracket by shutter speed alone if you want to keep depth of field constant, or bracket by fstop and/or ISO if you need to keep the shutter speed constant for whatever reason.
You can bracket an image by depth of field, so you capture an image's entire depth of field, and then combine them so the entire image is sharp. (Especially useful for macro photography)
Anyway, I could preach about a dozen other uses, but I don't want to over do it. I would just hope that if it's a tool you can benefit from it would be fantastic, but I don't even know if it is available for your camera. There is another apparent firmware available called Magic Lantern that is supposed to do amazing things for higher end camera such as yours. None of it makes any permanent changes to the camera, it just loads from the card when the camera boots and the camera goes back to normal when it's not there. :blahblah:

The reason I suggest Hugin, is it's very advanced and specialized for panos, HDR, and photo stacking and alignment. Honestly, I don't see where you could have done better either from the results I see, as they are stunning. Hugin just gives you many more options and higher accuracy where Photoshop has failed me in the past. And 32bit HDR images in a couple different formats. Also, It can align and blend the image in layers, so when you import it into photoshop, you can apply masks and remove objects in the blend, such as a person who was in one shot but not in the next. Can do amazing things for architecture and scenery correction/lens distortion correction and fringing color aberration. Just one of those tools that has been built from the ground up by people who make panos. It's open source, and free. :) I have some lofty photos I have attempted and manipulated with Hugin that you might find interesting if you'd like to see sometime. I have definitely enjoyed your works!
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