The Last Light – Alpine Glow on Mount Cook and Mount Tasman

This photograph was taken during the same chartered helicopter flight as my previous Mount Cook photograph. In many ways I actually prefer this shot. It has languished in my Lightroom library for nearly a year – neglected and unloved, for no other (or good) reason than it was shot at ISO1600 on my 1DSMK3.  I am almost always shooting at ISO100 on a tripod, so am very used to having no noise issues to deal with during post-processing. I finally got around to processing it this evening and I am very pleased with the result. It was one of the last frames I shot that captured a truly wonderful example of Alpine Glow at its best. Seconds later the light faded and the show was over. Because of the combination of very low light levels, lack of tripod, vibration from the helicopter, and the strong buffeting winds without the doors I was forced to pump up the ISO to ensure I had a fast enough shutter speed to avoid any camera shake. The fast shutter speed ensured a good sharp capture, but with the inherent luminance grain of a high ISO photograph. I probably could have got away with ISO800 and a shutter speed of  around 1/500th of a second, but I wanted to make sure there was no camera shake. The luminance noise reduction slider in Lightroom has done a very good job of cleaning up the grain. Other than a little ‘clarity’ and a curve tweak this is very much a straight photograph. A higher resolution version is my website in the New Zealand Portfolio.

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