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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 24 Oct 2012 (Wednesday) 17:33
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Star photography processing

 
NCHANT
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Oct 24, 2012 17:33 |  #1

Hey guys,

I've been doing a wee bit of star photography over the months, but still struggling in the processing part. My shots are usually 10-20 second exposures, ƒ3.5-5 range at 1600-3200ISO in RAW, using a canon 10-22mm lens. Here's an example:

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8192/8118883154_35f332a0a6.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/82443214@N07/8​118883154/  (external link)
Riverhead Milky Way (external link) by Mikey Mack (external link), on Flickr

Does anyone have any good tips on noise reduction, colour correction and how to make the stars pop a bit more? I use Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS5, a confident retoucher but relatively new to post processing my own photos :)

Any help is much appreciated!

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imsellingmyfoot
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Oct 24, 2012 17:46 |  #2

I'm envious of your location if you get that with a 10-20 second exposure.

Typically what I do is:

  • Find a white balance that works.
  • Bump up the exposure some, along with fill light. This allows me to see what's hidden there.
  • Depending on what I see, I'll either keep the exposure bumped up or I'll drop it back down.
  • I really turn the color saturation up high for stars.
  • I'll typically clip the black channel some (in Lightroom 3.6)
  • Contrast is your friend. I play with contrast a lot.
  • I think I did a high pass filter in Photoshop once and that really made the stars pop. I'm not 100% sure


I use Lightroom 3.6 for everything. The above is just what I typically do. I generally just play with things until I get something that I like. I'm by no means an expert, that's just what I do.

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NCHANT
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Oct 24, 2012 18:21 |  #3

imsellingmyfoot wrote in post #15164988 (external link)
I'm envious of your location if you get that with a 10-20 second exposure.

Typically what I do is:
  • Find a white balance that works.
  • Bump up the exposure some, along with fill light. This allows me to see what's hidden there.
  • Depending on what I see, I'll either keep the exposure bumped up or I'll drop it back down.
  • I really turn the color saturation up high for stars.
  • I'll typically clip the black channel some (in Lightroom 3.6)
  • Contrast is your friend. I play with contrast a lot.
  • I think I did a high pass filter in Photoshop once and that really made the stars pop. I'm not 100% sure


I use Lightroom 3.6 for everything. The above is just what I typically do. I generally just play with things until I get something that I like. I'm by no means an expert, that's just what I do.

Thanks for your advice :) the High pass filter I find is very good, here's one I done a while ago using a mix of High Pass and lighting/shadows adjustment, this was shot in the middle of suburbia, but still managed to catch the Milky Way.

Before:

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8284/7732130838_324e290859.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/82443214@N07/7​732130838/  (external link)
Cars and stars (external link) by Mikey Mack (external link), on Flickr

After:
IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8292/7744193846_f42cb3932e.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/82443214@N07/7​744193846/  (external link)
Cars and Stars edited (external link) by Mikey Mack (external link), on Flickr

One thing I notice, is that after reducing the noise, the stars get a really wierd shape, like a lip around certain edges, which kind of renders the images useless if printed large - without spending hours of retouching :(

6D | 600D | A6000 | 10-22mm ƒ3.5-4.5 USM | 24-105mm ƒ4L USM | TM 35mm ƒ1.8 VC | 40mm ƒ2.8 STM | 50mm ƒ1.8 | 85mm ƒ1.8 | 135mm ƒ2L | 200mm ƒ2.8L II | 55-250 ƒ4.5-5.6 II | Sy 24mm ƒ1.4 | Sy XP 14mm ƒ2.4
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imsellingmyfoot
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Oct 24, 2012 18:24 |  #4

I don't think I use any of the noise reduction stuff in Lightroom, mainly because I haven't learned how to use it properly. I haven't had an issue with noise for any of the night shots that I've taken for the viewing size. I haven't printed any of them, I just view them on my computer.


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wcameron
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Oct 25, 2012 01:33 |  #5

I`ve been having a lot of fun shooting nighttime images recently. In terms of post-processing they need a great deal. I found Phil Hart`s ebook to be tremendously helpful. Here is a before and after showing my develop settings in Lightroom v4.


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René ­ Damkot
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Oct 25, 2012 05:07 |  #6

NCHANT wrote in post #15165146 (external link)
One thing I notice, is that after reducing the noise, the stars get a really wierd shape, like a lip around certain edges, which kind of renders the images useless if printed large - without spending hours of retouching :(

What settings for sharpening/NR?


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NCHANT
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Oct 25, 2012 05:43 |  #7

René Damkot wrote in post #15166829 (external link)
What settings for sharpening/NR?

Here's what I've set my default star settings at:

Clarity 40
Vibrance 30
Sharpening 25
Luminence NR 40
Detail 50
Color 30
Detail 50

After using those settings I then play with the rest of the settings, exposure, highlights etc. Here's an example of the lip, upon closer inspection it's kind of getting a 'frozen' ice shard like texture? And still a lot of noise.
Actual photo:

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8285/7752709868_02c2224d63.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/82443214@N07/7​752709868/  (external link)
Light painting with the Milky Way 1 (external link) by Mikey Mack (external link), on Flickr

100% crop (the settings on this version are moderate compared to the full shot):

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8050/8121699510_22d04dbc5f.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/61860569@N04/8​121699510/  (external link)
IMG_6033 lr (external link) by mmackinven (external link), on Flickr

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René ­ Damkot
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Oct 25, 2012 07:17 |  #8

What settings for detail and masking in the sharpening?
I think you want masking pretty high.

Luminance NR of 40 is way too high. I use half that much on ISO 6400 shots on my 1D3.

Try this:
Zoom to 1:1 view.
Set Luminance NR to 100.
Adjust "Detail" slider till the image is just uniformly de-noised. (no lonely noise speckles left)
Set Luminance NR slider to about 20, set Contrast slider to match.

Here's a thread with two links: https://photography-on-the.net …R3+reduction#po​st11019573


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wcameron
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Oct 25, 2012 17:07 |  #9

Here are the settings in the previously posted image for noise reduction and sharpening in Lightroom. Also, the exposure was 30 seconds at f4 at ISO 3200 on a Canon 1D III.


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I hope this helps.

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René ­ Damkot
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Oct 26, 2012 10:26 |  #10

Lower "Detail", raise the "Masking" a lot. Somewhere above 80 or so.
If you hold Alt while adjusting the slider, you'll see a preview of what is masked black (so won't be sharpened).

Lower "Luminance" to 20 or so, set contrast to that as well.

Check at 100% view.


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DJCronin28
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Nov 04, 2012 23:04 |  #11

Great info here, thanks everyone for posting!


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beano
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Nov 06, 2012 03:17 |  #12

DJCronin28 wrote in post #15207901 (external link)
Great info here, thanks everyone for posting!

+1 Thanks from me too!! ;)


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NCHANT
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Jan 06, 2013 15:26 |  #13

Thanks everyone for your suggestions :) I think I have got the processing part sorted, for now ;)

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8212/8351694285_565cba961a_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/mikeymack/83516​94285/  (external link)
Moon rise over the Coromandel B (external link) by Mikey Mack (external link), on Flickr

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Star photography processing
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