Flow - Portugal

You might know that I love to capture night sky near a coastline. I traveled to Portugal to capture the beauty of night sky and the Atlantic Ocean. I was blown away by all of the little gems and beautiful seascape views in Portugal. This picture was captured near Telheiro a small beach. I spent my days searching for possible locations to capture and I found a location with the foreground rocks. I went back to this location when it was dark. I knew that the tide might affect the landscape and it certainly did. The view was different, but luckily I found a spot to capture. 

I used my Vision of Depth technique, to capture the scenery. Longer exposure for the foreground and 25 second's for the Milky Way. I also brought my new lens Sigma 20 mm f/1.4 ART with me to capture the sky. This lens is a beast! 

Exif & Equipment

Nikon D810, Sigma 20 mm f/1.4 ART, RRS Tripod and Hähnel Gigapro II remote controller. 
Sky: ISO 6400, f/1.8, 25 sec. tilting the camera upwards. 
Foreground: ISO 2000, f/4.0, 7-minute exposure tilting the camera downwards.

Post-processing

Color and contrast edit in Lightroom and opened the images in Photoshop as Smart Objects and copied the landscape to the same file as the sky. Once both images are in the same file, expanded the canvas with the crop tool. Masked the meeting point of the views. Saved file and went back to Lightroom, and used a Phase Preset (Contrast - Light) to give it an overall look. 

Mikko Lagerstedt - Flow - Portugal, 2017

What's in my camera bag - 2017 edition

The most typical question I get is what do I currently use for my photography. So here is the 2017 version of the gear I use daily in my photography and also some unusual stuff such as my favorite books at the moment. 

Camera Bag

Let's start with the obvious, the camera bag. I have used plenty of different camera bags most of them from Lowepro. Currently, I use a Lowepro Protactic 450 AW. The customizability and size are perfect for my equipment. 

What's on my shopping list

The f-stop SHINN looks impressive for long hikes when you need to have room for all of your gear and essentials. 

Cameras

I use two camera bodies the Nikon D810 and D800. Mostly I just have the D810 with me, but for longer travels, I have the D800 as a backup. I also use the D800 to shoot timelapse while I have the D810 to shoot stills. 

What's on my shopping list

Nothing. I'm very pleased with the D810 at the moment, but if Nikon releases a successor to the D810, I'm sure I will be considering an upgrade. 

Lenses

To be honest, I have too many lenses at the moment. Most of which I leave at home and don't use at all. I'll be selling those because I don't need them anymore. Recently I received a Laowa 12 mm f/2.8 ultra wide angle lens which is excellent for night sky photography. What I love about the Laowa is the smooth focusing in the dark because of the hard mechanical stop for infinity. 

In My Bag

Nikon 14-24 mm f/2.8 - My go to lens for landscapes and star photography - sharp! 
Sigma 20 mm f/1.4 ART (Canon version here) - My newest lens is a great addition capturing Milky Way - so good!
Nikon 50 mm f/1.4 G - A great low light lens for shallow depth of field. Weights nothing!
Nikon 70-200 mm f/4.0 VR II - Sharp telephoto lens for landscapes and detail shots. 
Laowa 12 mm f/2.8 (only Canon and Pentax mounts avail at the moment in Amazon) - Excellent for astrophotography, weights about half of the Nikon 14-24 mm. 

Lenses I use sometimes but not often enough

Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 ART Nikon (Canon mount) I use this for northern lights, it's sharp from 1.4!
Sigma 35 mm f/1.4 ART Nikon (Canon mount) I hardly put this lens on, sometimes when I capture our dog... 

Lenses I don't use anymore and will be selling

I first bought most of these when I switched to the D800, and since then have been gradually upgrading to the ones I have in my bag. All of these would be good enough for what I do. I think the upgrades have not really impacted the quality of my work so remember that when you first start. 

Nikon 16-35 mm f/4.0 VR - Great sharp wide angle for landscapes with screw on filters.
Nikon 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 VR- Small, cheap and light tele zoom.
Nikon 105 mm f2.5 AI - A legendary sharp lens for tight landscapes and smooth backgrounds.
Samyang 14 mm f/2.8 - Light and sharp astrophotography lens with huge wave distortion  (fixable though).
Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 - As sharp as the Nikon I use, but much heavier, so it has been sitting on the shelf for too long.
Sigma 70 mm f/2.8 Macro - Excellent for macro photography, sharp but slow autofocus.

What's on my shopping list

I will be getting a Nikon 28-300 mm f/3.5-5.6 VR soon as a travel lens, and it is what I will be carrying with me for the long hikes accompanied with an ultra wide angle lens for landscapes and star photography. 

Tripod & Other Accessories

I recently bought a Really Right Stuff TVC-24L Tripod with BH-40 LR Ballhead and quick release lever. I also got the TA-3-FRC Rock Claw Foot for it. These are fantastic for a slippery surface and of course for rocky terrain. The best choice was to get an L-plate for the Nikon D810. It makes it so much faster to change from vertical to horizontal and likewise. The only thing that is a bit annoying is that when it's freezing, the quick lever seems to jam in the middle. If I want to change the camera to the horizontal position I need to slide it from the end of the quick release platform and slide it back and then lock it in the position. 

Remote Controller

I use a standard Pixel remote controller for time-lapse work. And a Hahnel Giga T Pro II when I need more than 20 second's to get in the frame of my shot. Usually, I use the self-timer on my camera to get sharp images with either 2 sec or 5 sec timer. 

Filters

I recently received a set of Nisi filters with the filter holder for the Nikon 14-24 mm f/2.8, and I must admit the holder feels much more robust than the equivalent Lee holder. The only downside to the Nisi holder is that it seems to jam the zoom slightly when you screw it on the Nikon 14-24 mm which makes the zooming feel uncomfortable. 

Nisi Soft IR GND8 (0.9) - soft grad for balancing the exposures. 
Nisi IR ND1000 (3.0) - 10 stop filter, excellent for long exposure. Seems to have less vignetting than the Lee Big Stopper. 
Nisi HD Polarizer - This is a great filter to remove reflections or boost them. You can quickly rotate the holder so it's adjustable. 

Mavic Pro

I recently purchased a DJI Mavic Pro fly more combo to widen my possibilities in capturing different perspectives. I love using the Mavic Pro. The drone is small and easy to operate, and it fits perfectly with the rest of my gear in the camera bag. 

Favorite Resources

I'm currently reading

I used to have a lot of different books lying around my office, but once I got the Amazon Kindle, I have been using it a lot. It's so convenient to take with you rather than all the 40+ large books I have stored in it. I love the look of the display and I can read it in complete darkness when my wife is sleeping, and don't want the lights on anymore. If I really enjoy a book I will get a printed copy as well. 

Tim Ferris - Tools of Titans. Fantastic book with insight to some of the World's most successful people. 
Dan Brown - Deception Point. A fiction book with an unusual and intriguing story of Nasa and science discovery. 

I'm currently watching

Chase Jarvis - Inspiring photographer, entrepreneur and creator
Casey Neistat - Probably the most watched vlogger at the moment
Marques Brownlee - Tech review guy on YouTube
Peter McKinnon - Great source of inspiration and tips for photographers
Tales by Light - Inspiring photography documentary on Netflix

Apps I'm Using

Photographer's Ephemeris - Great tool for sunset and Milky Way scouting
PhotoPills - Another tool to make plans and see the Milky Way location
Star Walk - A stargazing app, great to learn stars and planet's

How to Match Colors in Lightroom

In this tutorial, you will learn how to match two photographs colors in Lightroom to create a composite image. We will take advantage of the new Reference View in the Lightroom CC Develop Module to see the images side by side. I chose cold colors to give this final image cool atmosphere. 

1. Import pictures and Create a collection

Open Lightroom and import the images from File > Import Photographs. Choose the images you want to match the colors and create the composite. Once the pictures are imported, select both of them and create a new collection from the Collections Panel. Having the both images in the same collection helps you to visualize the final image. 

If you want to learn how I setup my catalog learn it in this free tutorial

Give the collection a name. I usually have a date first and then a title for the edit. 

2. Base Image Edit

The first step is to select the base image and edit it individually. Use shortcut D to get to Develop Module.

2.1. BASIC SETTINGS

The settings depend on what kind of image you are working on and what is the final outlook you want to create. In this step focus on color and light. I always start by reducing saturation and adding some detail to shadows. 

2.2. COLOR

Looking through the color panel, see if there are some color you wish to edit. I tend to leave most of these colors untouched. I personally love the green hue over blue color. 

Settings used for this image
Red: Hue -49,  Luminance -7
Orange: Hue -18, Saturation -9, Luminance +2
Yellow: Hue +33, Luminance -9
Aqua: Hue -31
Blue: Hue -51, Saturation +7, Luminance -2

2.3. SPLIT TONING

To enhance the cold atmosphere of the base image add cool Split Toning. 

Settings used for this image
Highlights: Hue 210, Saturation 26
Shadows: Hue 210, Saturation 18

3. Reference View

You can now use Reference view in Lightroom's latest CC update to see the images open in the Develop Module. You can open the Reference View by using shortcut SHIFT+R. 

Now you have both images side by side in the Develop Mode. You can change the reference photograph by dragging an image from the filmstrip. 

Reference-View-Lightroom.jpg

3.1 Basic Settings

Edit the basic settings to make them consistent with the base image. For star photographs, I add contrast and clarity. 

3.2 Color

Editing the colors from the Color Panel is the most important step to make the colors work perfectly with the reference image. 

Settings used for this image
Aqua: Hue -29
Blue: Hue -38, Saturation -13, Luminance +13
 

3.3 Split Toning

Similarly to the reference image add some blue tones with Split Toning. 

Settings used for this image
Highlights: Hue 210, Saturation 17
Shadows: Hue 210, Saturation 11

The colors look similar thanks to the reference view and the cool thing is that you can fine tune it as much as you need in the Develop mode. 

Here is the final image edited in Lightroom and blended together in Photoshop with the techniques in our new Star Photography Composite tutorial. 

Star Photography Composite

Star Photography Composite

If you wish to learn how to create composite images, see our new tutorial with step by step process. On sale for limited time! 

Star Photography Composite Tutorial

We released a new tutorial in collaborating with JuusoHD. The tutorial contains information and step-by-step process how to blend night and day images together using Lightroom and Photoshop. You can view the tutorial here

YOU WILL LEARN

  • How to Create Composite Milky Way and Night Sky Photograph
  • How to Edit Star & Foggy Landscape Photograph in Lightroom
  • Learn How JuusoHD Creates His Unique Dreamy Look
  • How to Follow The Steps with Juuso's Source Photographs
  • How to Easily Blend Photographs in Photoshop
  • Why Use These Tricks and Tools
  • Includes Final Image PSD with Layers

Distant Land

Last year I had the pleasure to visit Chile and the Torres Del Paine national park with Konsta Punkka and the crew. We stayed there for eight days and shot a mini-doc series Exploring Earth's first episodes. If you haven't seen the series, check it out here: Exploring Earth – Patagonia

I captured this view from a different perspective than the usual views of this mountain line. I used two exposures to capture the scenery and then blended them together in Photoshop. 

Equipment & Exif

Nikon D810, Nikkor 14-24 mm f/2.8 - Tripod RRS TVC-34, BH-40 Ballhead. 
Sky ISO 6400, 30 sec, f/2.8 @ 14 mm
Water & Mountains ISO 800, 215 sec, f/4.0 @ 20 mm

Post-processing

I blended the two vertical images manually in Photoshop CC. Learn this blending technique from my eBook Star Photography Masterclass. After combining the images, I opened the final work in Lightroom and edited it with Phase Presets: Hazy Night.

If you wish to see my and Konsta's photos in prints, visit the Photo & Camera Expo in Messukeskus, Helsinki on the 17-19th March.