La Palma Night

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


Two weeks ago we spent some days on the island of La Palma. This island is considered the place with the clearest skies in Europe. So I couldn’t resist and spent two nights on the island’s highest mountain.

During the first night, parts of the Milky Way were unfortunately obscured by medium-high clouds. When I returned for the second time, things looked promising at first. I was able to capture this panorama. But a few minutes later the clouds in the valley moved higher and I was suddenly standing in the middle of the clouds: estimated visibility 3 meters.

I waited another hour or so hoping it would clear up again. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

Specific Feedback

Originally, my plan was to wait another two hours. Then the Milky Way would have stood a little steeper in the center of my composition.
But I am quite happy with the result of this earlier shot.

What do you think? Does the composition work? I’m a bit concerned about the blank sky on the right side of the image.

Is there anything I can improve? As always, any feedback is welcome.

Technical Details


This image consists of five vertical shots.
I stitched the panorama in LR, used Topaz Denoise AI for noise reduction, and processed it in PS (using the StarXTerminator Plugin to process the sky and reduce the stars).

I’m on my iPhone which can only show very compressed detail but it looks wonderful overall ! The blank sky is no problem because the MW is like a rainbow leading to the pot of gold! Good skies are rare and you did a great job with the timing and conditions! I look forward to enjoying this as it deserves this evening when we will be back home.

I’m happy to know Lr did a good job stitching! I’m looking forward to a chance to try some MW panos in a couple of months, although it will be higher than I’d like by then, and haven’t looked into the various software yet. If anyone has experience I’d love to hear about it.

This is a beautiful composition; very nicely planned and executed. I think night sky images that integrate both stars and clouds are an under-represented composition.

Hi Jens,

I’ll try this again.

There’s a lot to look at in this image and all of it has interest and detail.
There’s the MW of course, then the glowing clouds lit by the town lights from down below, the glow of lights over the rocks center and left, the silhouette of the person standing on the rock, the white cloud tops in the MG, then there’s all the jagged rock shapes, the gnarly tree trunks, the lone rock at the left side that looks a little like an arrow.

All of it calls for my attention in some way. I enjoyed the exploration but it’s difficult for me to say that the MW was the main subject, the MW seemed more like an awesome backdrop for all the other neat elements.

It’s just the way I see it. Hopefully that’s what you wanted?

@Diane_Miller, @jefflafrenierre, @Merv
Thank you very much for your feedback. I really appreciate that.

80 % of my panoramas could be stitched with LR. LR usually does a really good job here.

I bought PTGui at some point because I had panoramas that LR couldn’t handle. PTGui has countless options to improve the stitching result (e. g. you can set so-called control points for each individual shot to help the software determine which parts of two different images represent the same elements).
But one feature that I love about PTGui is the long list of projection methods that you can apply to the panorama. LR offers only Spherical, Cylindrical, and Perspective.
Playing around with different projection methods has a big impact on the overall look of the panorama.

@Merv, thank you very much for your exploration. In my opinion, you have described the definition of a nightscape image. I try to compose the images so that the landscape remains the main subject. That’s sometimes quite challenging, especially if you never visited a location in daylight. But in this case, I photographed this place in the afternoon, stitched a daylight panorama at the hotel, and thanks to an app, I knew how the Milky Way would align at night.