Selection of May 2020: Moonlight sonata by Aleš Krivec

Moonlight sonata by Aleš Krivec

The image was taken at the Seiser Alm meadows in the Dolomites in Italy. I was shooting a time-lapse over a span of about 4 hours since I wanted to capture the Milky Way. In the first 2 hours, the night was clear, so I was able to get a nice time-lapse of the moving stars at the start of the video. Just before moonrise, it was starting to get more and more cloudy and this caused the light to just occasionally penetrate through the clouds and illuminate the landscape below. As it later turned out, it was a great opportunity to try to do something different as opposed to a more standard night shot with stars and Milky Way.

I think the composition is pretty standard for this location, as I have seen other images taken from a similar spot. At first, I wasn't too happy about the cloudy night as my intention was to just have a Milky Way time-lapse, but as I was checking the images, I noticed the light on the landscape was very unique and beautiful, so I decided to do something special with post-processing too. When you shoot the night time-lapse, you get a few hundred images with an exposure time of about 20 seconds (in this case it was exactly 20 seconds). This allows you to join/stack the images to get an even longer exposure. I stacked 30 images in StarStack software to get a simulation of a 10 minutes exposure (just like if I just took a 10 minutes exposure in the camera). This enhanced the scenery even further, making the clouds smooth and the meadows below illuminated in a perfect way. It's very interesting to see how much light a Moon can provide over a very long period of time and since the light was changing all the time, different spots across the landscape received a different amount of light, adding to the overall interest and atmosphere of the image.

In the end, this turned out to be my favorite image from the whole 10 day trip across the Dolomites. There is just something very mystical about the moonlight, as it gives a completely different feel to the landscape. Combined with a location like Seiser Alm, one almost feels like stepping into a fantasy movie with dwarves and elves just walking by. 

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