Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Edge Of Perception by Michael Shainblum

"The Edge of Perception" - an illustrative Milky Way photograph by Michael Shainblum (click to enlarge)
Michael Shainblum recently took our Photo of the Week at one of his favorite spots in California —along the Armour Ranch Road in Santa Ynez. Michael loves the rolling hills with the giant oak trees, as they make for awesome foregrounds with the Milky Way. The bright spots on the horizon are not the sun setting, but actually light pollution from Los Angeles county —proving that the distant glow from city lights can be a wonderfully illustrative tool in the right hands!

Technical Stuff: Michael used a Canon EOS 6D. The Milky Way was tracked for 60 seconds using a Vixen Polarie, and then brought into another 60 seconds land exposure, with the tracking off. This helps to produce and cleaner (lower noise) and sharper look. The post processing was made to retain all the true color spectrum of the Milky Way "without being too jarring or too contrasty".

Challenges: "It was annoying because [jet] contrails kept appearing in the sky and they were too big to be photoshopped out so I sat out there for an hour just to wait for the contrails to dissipate," says Michael.

Michael Shainblum
Satisfaction: "My main goal was to show a surreal, yet realistic scene. The name 'The Edge Of Perception' came from starring at the image on me screen blankly for an hour. I finally started thinking some of these images really do capture the unknown and the almost intangible. These Milky Way images really do fall on the edge of our perception and of our reality," reports Michael.

Michael Shainblum is from San Diego, California. He graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, and now lives in San Francisco. More of Michael's work can be seen on his website. He also teaches workshops for photography and timelapse via Skype.

Royce's 2014 Workshop, Lecture & Video Conference Schedule:


  1. Great post. I'm going to look into that Vixen tracker as my next potential purchase.

    1. You should be happy with your purchase. I think the Vixen Polarie is better built than the SkyTracker, which even costs a little more.

  2. Amazing, mesmerising, fantastic.