|"Starry Night" near Arco, Idaho ~ © James Neeley|
|"San Francisco Nights" ~ © James Neeley|
|"Light Show" - Light painting Delicate Arch during the "Blue Hour" ~ © James Neeley|
High ISO Milky Way Photography is a passion for James. "I [had] done some long exposure astrophotography with a dedicated, cooled CCD camera through a telescope. When the Nikon D3/D700 came out with the ability to shoot fairly low noise pictures at 6400 ISO, I jumped at the chance to try capturing the Milky Way."
However, the latest and the greatest isn't always the best for this style of night work. Neeley still prefers the Nikon D3s camera. "In my opinion this camera has the best high ISO performance, even just edging out the [new] D4."
|"Going Deep" - Arches National Park ~ © James Neely|
|Unprocessed version of "Going Deep" (compare with above image) ~ © James Neeley|
Noise Reduction: Here's some advice from James: "A low noise full frame sensor is important. The critical camera setting is to turn on long exposure noise reduction. The camera will then take a dark frame following the exposure for the same time as the exposure itself and then subtract the images to greatly reduce the noise and hot pixels.
Remember, I'm not only shooting a long exposure but high ISO (6400 or 12800). If you want a real shock turn off long exposure noise reduction and shoot a 30 sec. exposure at ISO 6400 in a dark room at a blank wall. Your camera, or any camera for that matter will show multiple hot pixels. For this type of photography you must use long exposure noise reduction or take a dark frame and do the subtraction later on in post."
For additional post-production noise reduction, James likes Neat Image.