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Wallpaper Details: Maligne Starry Sky

High-resolution desktop wallpaper Maligne Starry Sky by Dominic Kamp
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Maligne Starry Sky

December 19th, 2009

Maligne Lake is a lake in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada. It is approximately 22.5 km (14 mi) long and 97 m (318 ft) at its deepest point. The name Maligne is French for "wicked" and was used by Father Pierre-Jean De Smet (1801-1873) to describe the treacherous river that flows from the lake. The name soon spread to the lake, canyon, pass, mountain and range.

Nikon D300, Sigma 10-20mm, Photoshop CS4.

52°40'11"N, 117°32'34"W

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Comments from the Community

Posted By: knaim2
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Wow. Macindows, you really hit the jackpot this time.
Posted By: JVi
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Have to agree with knaim. This one is pure awesomeness and definitely a keeper.
Posted By: PoopChef
about 14 years, 4 months ago
OMG it's gorgeous! Thank you for this wonderful Christmas gift, Macindows. Your gift is a blessing to us all during this wonderful season.

Merry Christmas friend!
Posted By: nemo10
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Great Picture :]] Ive Always Loved A Starry Sky And Here It Is In Perfection .. Love It Just Like All Your Other Photos ,, Merry Xmas!
Posted By: slashbomb123
about 14 years, 4 months ago
incredible, macwindows is truly awesome.
Posted By: Frank Davidson
about 14 years, 4 months ago
This is almost too good to be real... fantastic shot!
Posted By: silverscope
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Wow my jaw just dropped...absolutely awesome!
Posted By: fishniw
about 14 years, 4 months ago
it's a cool composition but this looks really fake
Posted By: dohlfhauldhagen
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Very cool, but it does look very fake to me.
Posted By: QuaffAPint
about 14 years, 4 months ago
I have to agree on the 'fake looking' - I love the awesomeness that macindows brings - but, this one just seems a little too fake that it would keep bugging me :-). Would like to see the original shot.
Posted By: ew1029
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Very "cool" looking. I have to agree that the clouds right above the lake do look pretty fake. But still, great work!
Posted By: Vinca
about 14 years, 4 months ago
holy shit! was my first remark. excellent job, very clear and just the right amount of computer modification.
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Fake or not, is amazing.
Posted By: lerch84
about 14 years, 4 months ago
This is awesome..but which is the real part and which the fake one? it's difficult to me to distinguish them!
Posted By: OneDunya
about 14 years, 4 months ago
One of the best I have seen in a while. I was hoping this would make it to wallpaper from the Loupe.
Posted By: Stretix
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Nice editing, though it seems the original lighting from the shot of the mountains was a bit too strong - I would have tried to lower the contrast between shadow and light - otherwise it doesn't quite look like night time, but more like a lower curves version of day time :)

Very nice wallpaper overall, though, thanks for the upload.
Posted By: Quatrix
about 14 years, 4 months ago
I thought this was a computer rendering too.
Posted By: NateFox
about 14 years, 4 months ago
its nice, but could you post the original shot somewhere?
Posted By: Dominic Kamp
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Thanks everybody for your feedback! I'm having difficulties to understand why you think this image looks fake, though. Please have a look at the two following images.

This image shows the original image and, although HDR processed, it shows the original mountains and shore of Maligne Lake.

The following picture shows the image I was replicating:

Ew1029 mentioned that the clouds look very fake. I would love to hear his justification why he think they look fake. In general, if you take a long exposure during night time and there are clouds moving on the horizon, they will definitely look like this since they are moving. If you now say, that the stars would be moving as well, please have a look how a realistic approach to this would have looked:


Which one would you prefer to use as your desktop wallpaper?

Then there's this guy who doesn't like the lighting of the mountains. Well, there's no lighting on the mountains as there was no sun when I took the original picture. Please remember that the moon is a pretty strong light source as well, as you can see on the following picture:


Therefore, taking a night time picture on which the moon lights up the mountains can tend to look fake to certain people as it's not the way how we would actually "see" it. The long exposure makes it look artificial since our eyes are not capable to gather that much light during night time.

In this picture, I combined all these rules to make it look as realistic as possible. I even tried to make the reflections look original by using the correct refraction index of light, which bounces of the lake. (The clouds and stars seem to be closer to the mountains in the reflection)

I hope you now comprehend, why I composed the image as it is right now. I tried to make the image look as realistic as possible by maintaining the beauty of the night scene. If you would rather use the original image, I'm happy to upload it to my homepage.
Thanks guys!
Posted By: abhiiii
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Could you please upload the original image? I prefer it to the edited one, which I must say is a great effort nevertheless! You are very talented. :)
Posted By: pirate_republic
about 14 years, 4 months ago
I can see where people are coming from when they say that this photo looks fake: portions of the clouds look like a bad photoshop job, and portions of the mountains are too dark, resulting in a CG sort of look.

Regardless, this is a stunning photo that clearly exhibits a good amount of work and talent. Good job.
about 14 years, 4 months ago
WOW,,, i love both of them, the original and the composition... they are to different from each other ;) you should upload the original. I would vote for it!
Posted By: John Horne
about 14 years, 4 months ago
I think the image looks magical and I have it on my desktop at the moment.

Now, I'm not a photographer or graphic artist but does it seem pretty obvious even at a glance that the image has been edited, it just doesn't look "real" somehow. If i had to put my finger on something that gives it away, I think maybe the water looks a bit too smooth, but what do I know?

Macindows, anytime your work creates this much conversation it's a success.
Posted By: NateFox
about 14 years, 4 months ago
hmm i just have one other question. whats with the off glow of the line where the lake meets the land? it seems much brighter in those areas.
Posted By: NateFox
about 14 years, 4 months ago
but it is a very nice pic, good work.
Posted By: Manuel Marques
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Amazing! Really nice work!
Posted By: Mister Q
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Great work and also nice to know you put so much effort into your backgrounds. I figured it was just a skill you're born with :-)
Posted By: Tim H.
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Dear everyone who thinks this looks fake and whatnot:

Before leaving your comments, be sure to look at the Keywords first. Why? Because if you had done that here, then you would understand. What do I mean? Well one of the listed Keywords is "digital composition".

That is all.
Posted By: Clyde
about 14 years, 4 months ago
This makes a really good wallpaper. The composition is great but I could do without the stick on un-realistic stars. They look like an after thought.
Posted By: Thomatis
about 14 years, 4 months ago
@ macindows "I'm having difficulties to understand why you think this image looks fake,"
Maybe the stars between the clouds & the camera lens for a start.!
Posted By: Dominic Kamp
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Merry Christmas to everybody!
Posted By: kailIFL
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Stunning work Dominic.
Posted By: Geosim
about 14 years, 4 months ago
If I could compare Macindows with a movie director, it would be Michael Bay, if not for anything but his ability to go all out in his composition to blow the viewer away (although perhaps Macindows deserves more artistic credit than that ;).

Does this style occasionally lead to some questionable decisions when it comes to post processing? Undoubtedly. But is it wrong? Of course not. Does it produce results? One look through Macindow's portfolio on this site would suggest it does.

If I were to be hypercritical of this image, it would be that there is too much light. Now, that may well have been how it appeared to the naked eye, especially if it was taken not long after dusk or the moon was particularly bright that evening, but not having been there at the time (though I wish I was), I can't say for sure. However, I trust from your explanation you've gone to great lengths to ensure it's as realistic as possible, but whenever I see a nighttime landscape, I expect to see silhouettes and not be able to make out fine details of the landscape, as I wouldn't be able to if I was standing there at night. That doesn't mean to say it's a bad image, indeed it makes an interesting change from the usual starscapes we see, but, to me at least, that is what gives this image a certain 'unrealistic', or (to put a positive spin on it) ethereal quality, even if that's not what you were going for.

Personally, I would have liked to see this scene with a longer exposure of the sky to produce some nice star trails, not necessarily as a replacement, but in addition to this image. It may give it a more realistic look, but would also take away the feeling of standing on the shore of the lake at that moment in time.

You certainly have a talent for creating images that are pleasing on the eye, even if they deviate from the often strict guidelines people place on how you get there, and how things should look. I think people don't like being fooled, which explains the occasional hint of animosity towards your submissions when they discover it is, at least in part, a fabrication, although that is only a testament to the quality of that fabrication that they couldn't see it in the first place.

Anyway, I digress. As always, I look forward to seeing more of your work on my desktop, and would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas.
Posted By: MacPro
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Image looks fake, not quite my cup of tea. I do agree with other users that the original image most likely would be better without all the editing.
Posted By: den4ps
about 14 years, 4 months ago
this is a great picture. it's funny to hear some people doubt the authenticity when they are not familiar with how cameras gather light and things blur over long exposure. i think it's a great composite and looks stunning on my 24" ACD. great job. i would be interested in adding you as a flickr contact if you have an account. i think your original HDR in the daytime with the pier in the middle also looks great.

just because the human eye does not see something a certain way doesn't mean it's not really there.
Posted By: den4ps
about 14 years, 4 months ago
EDIT - i found your flickr link in your profile.
Posted By: Philippe Clairo
about 14 years, 4 months ago
The long exposure from the original photo has blurred the clouds, but since the stars have been added later, it gives away the digital processing. And that is to the eye of the experienced photographer.
None the less, I think the work here deserves a lot of credits because of the high quality of the end result and for the amount of time spent on it.
I do prefer an original photo myself, but I don't have to like a digital composition to appreciate the effort!
Posted By: Dominic Kamp
about 14 years, 4 months ago
Just for clarification: The picture is based on the following image. Everything else has been added.

Posted By: josephwm
about 14 years, 3 months ago
Macindows, I think the seam of the mountains to the sky perhaps gives it the fake look people are talking about. I think they are too much in focus compared to the sky behind them...

It is still a very nice shot however, and I love the stars.
Posted By: antonis7
about 14 years, 3 months ago
oh my...

dude i have never commented on IFL before but this is a stunning composition

keep up the good work macindows
Posted By: Andy Wilde
about 14 years, 3 months ago
This is awesome, what were the Exposure settings you used to capture the different compositions?
Posted By: freakalicious
about 14 years, 3 months ago
It's really beautiful but I agree it looks kinda fake.

The exposure should be one of the reasons. Also, shouldn't the reflection image be dimmer/blurer when it goes "further"?
Posted By: Clyde
about 14 years, 3 months ago
Macindows..do you have a version without the stars ?

*For those that never go out EVER, stars do not usually appear in front of clouds :)
Posted By: Dominic Kamp
about 14 years, 3 months ago
Clyde, thanks for pointing that out! In general you're right. But since I leave my house every now and then, what happens, if the clouds are thin and therefore, have a low opacity and on top, are moving fast?

In that case, the stars would be slightly shining through, as it can be seen on my wallpaper and on the following real photo! ;-)

Posted By: Faeth
about 14 years, 3 months ago
Your wallpapers are amazing and I don't know why everyone keeps crying "Fake!" when this picture is clearly marked as a digital composition. This has been on my desktop and phone since it was uploaded and is one of my favorite wallpapers of all time. Thank you for your work Macindows.
Posted By: karx11erx
about 14 years, 3 months ago
Well, I have read your comments on your image, and yet I have to say that it appears unnatural and overprocessed. Maybe this is simply due to the fact that I compare it to what I can perceive and what scenes I have seen at night, but this image presents a view on nature that has been taken by sensors that on the one side are superior (low light) and on the other side are inferior (contrast) to the human eye.

Here are a few pointers.

The sky looks too monotonous, no shades, no (even slight) detail.
The stars are overly bright and very crisp. Your correcting the longer traces of starlight due to the shot's long light exposure makes this look even more unnatural.
The clouds look like they have been added to the image as an extra layer. Stars shining through them so brightly increases that impression.
The mountain in the background looks strangely flat due to the complete lack of any blur and its extremely sharp edges.
The lake just mirrors these impressions with its supernatural flat reflection.
The entire image is just too clear and clean.

For me this is a classical case of going over the top with technical capabilities and HDR. It seems to be very easy and tempting to take HDR effects too far. Some perfect visual sensors may perceive the world like shown on your picture, but the human eye does not, and hence it appear unnatural and in a subtle way "wrong".
Posted By: karx11erx
about 14 years, 3 months ago
(apparently comments cannot be edited)

Here's a link to what I consider a very well done application of HDR:

Posted By: Southport
about 13 years, 9 months ago
Easily one of the top 5 best wallpapers on this site. The whole picture is like a dream sequence.

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