Melbourne, Australia-based wedding photographer Lakshal Perera shot this stunning wedding photograph a few days ago showing the newlywed couple in the foreground and the Milky Way floating in the night sky. The scene was extremely dim, allowing for a clear view of the sky. Perera captured it in a single exposure using a Canon 5D Mark III and 16-35 f/2.8L lens at 17mm, 71 seconds of exposure, f/5.6, and ISO boosted up to 4000 (wow). The couple is relatively sharp given that they had to stand still for 71 seconds!
If you want to shoot something similar, here’s a tip: this is the perfect situation to have a graduated neutral density filter handy. Use the filter to properly expose both the dimmer stars above and the brighter lights below.
If you don’t want to drop money on a filter, try looking into the black card technique:
Basically, black card photography uses a black card (could be anything that is dark with a characteristic of not refecting lights) to shelter the brighter area of an image allowing the darker area a longer exposure and the result is a balanced exposure. Compare to gradient graduated ND filter application and HDRI, black card photography can handle a greater dynamic range of luminance and it can be done without computer software post-editing which usually disqualifies a great photo from a photo contest.
Take your black card, and cover up the bottom portion of this shot for a short period of time so that it doesn’t get blown out while you’re trying to properly expose the stars.
P.S. In case you missed it: yesterday we shared a similar photo of a family posing with the Milky Way.
Image credit: Photograph by Lakshal Perera