#1 is my favorite but could have been cropped a little tighter. #3 looks a tiny bit out of focus. In general though, these are fantastic shots! Better than most I've seen, good job! Care to share your technique?
DGMPhotography, I think I agree with the suggestion to crop the first one, but my thinking is that if I ever want to print this at any size, noise will be a factor. The less I crop it, the less the noise should be evident in the final print (or post for that matter). This was one photo in a series of photos for a timelapse video. For the video, I crop to a 16:9 ratio. I'm not sure which I prefer, though. Here are two different versions of the timelapse I ended up with. I'm not as pleased with the timelapse as I am with the individual photo. I still have a lot of learning to do in the art of timelapse post-processing. The first version is at 30 fps and the second is at 24. Which do you all like better?
Please watch in HD. Unfortunately, I can't seem to figure out how to embed the videos from Flickr in this post...
As for my process. It's pretty straight forward. I have a Canon 6D which is AMAZING with low light. For the first photo, paired with that is a 24mm f/1.4. Since I was doing a timelapse video, I had the camera set and positioned during the day, which helped with focusing. By the time everything got dark, I was using a 30 second shutter (which is actually verging on the start of star trails), 3200 ISO, and an aperture of f/2.8. Worked out very nicely. Post processing was very straight forward. I really need to learn some better techniques. I simply made overall adjustments to the photo by playing with various sliders, then some local adjustments to the Milky Way itself, then local adjustments to the entire night sky.
The last two photos were with a 50mm. I focused it by setting the ISO to H2 (102,400). I use quick shots on that to set the focus by trial and error (hence the slight OOF on 3). I think I used 10 second exposures at ISO 6400 for those two, but I took several at 3200 and a range of 10, 13, and 15 second shutters as well as f/1.8 and f/2.8 to see what I ended up liking most. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask.
Cenote, I think I would be able to bring out the log more, but I have to be careful about noise...
When I get back home in a couple days, I'll do a cropped version. I do think it'll be better compositionally, but we'll see how much of an effect it has on noticeable noise.
The mountains look more orangish to me. In any case, I THINK the glow is true to nature. I didn't do anything I can think of that would have added the color. If anything, I think I diminished it a bit. It could be reflection from the Milky Way or perhaps light pollution from Portland reflecting on it. I'll try to minimize it when I get back along with the crop.
Nice! I like #1 as well. The log is a fine element here, but I feel like it's too light. I realize that this is a long exposure, and so the log just naturally comes up, but I think the picture would be stronger if you pushed it back down. Keep the texture and the shape, but make it quite dim. The bottom of the frame can use the weight, and it'll strengthen the feeling of nighttime.