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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Astronomy & Celestial 
Thread started 10 Dec 2009 (Thursday) 12:56
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Color enhanced moon image

 
DonR
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Dec 10, 2009 12:56 |  #1

Hi,

I'm new to POTN and I have a Canon Digital Rebel XT that I have been using for astrophotography for about three years. A few nights ago I took some shots of the moon, mainly because the moon was so bright it was difficult to image anything else in the sky.

The next day I ran across this article (external link) on the internet by Filipe Alves describing a procedure for create color enhanced images of the moon, and I decided to give it a try. Here's the result:


IMAGE: http://www.pbase.com/dtreed/image/119916801/large.jpg

This is not a "false color" or "mapped color" image. Those techniques use special filters or post-processing manipulation of the color channels in order to bring out specific aspects of the moon surface. This image instead shows the natural colors of the surface of the moon with enhanced color saturation.

The most difficult part of Filipe's process is achieving an accurate, natural color balance before applying the saturation increase. Without this step, you would be enhancing colors that aren't really there, and since a natural photo of the moon appears mostly gray to our eyes, care must be taken to balance the colors. There are many photos like this one posted on the internet and they display a pretty wide range of colors, mainly due to the somewhat subjective process of obtaining the initial color balance. In common, though, are the deep blue color seen in the Sea of Tranquility (above and left of center in this photo) and the predominance of blue and orange shades elsewhere, with varying amounts of green hues mixed in. According to NASA the blue areas have surface soils rich in titanium, while the light orange, yellow and green shades indicate surfaces poor in titanium but rich in iron. The red, deep orange and brown hues indicate surface composition low in metallic elements.

I made this image from 18 raw frames acquired with my stock Canon Digital Rebel XT wihout a lens. In place of the lens was an 8" f/4.9 newtonian reflector telescope (1,000 mm focal length). The raw frames were registered and stacked using Iris software, and the color balancing and saturation increase of the resulting image were done in Photoshop.

Regards.

Don



  
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e02937
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Dec 10, 2009 12:59 |  #2

very neat


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Bill ­ Boehme
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Dec 10, 2009 13:20 as a reply to  @ e02937's post |  #3

I have saturated the heck out of my images and still wind up with neutral gray. Maybe some Rustoleum would help. ;)


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Sorarse
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Dec 10, 2009 14:01 |  #4

That's a nicely captured image, though the colour enhancement is a little bit heavy on the saturation for my personal taste.


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DonR
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Dec 10, 2009 23:26 as a reply to  @ Sorarse's post |  #5

Thanks for the comments!

Bill, if you can't coax any color out of your moon images, perhaps you're overexposing them. It's best to shoot in RAW mode if you can, and underexpose slightly so that no part of the moon is saturated. Then following the technique described in Alves' article will pull out the colors - they are there.

A nice thing about this technique is you can stop wherever you want. I like the exaggerated result - my favorite though of all the enhanced color images of the moon I have seen is this one (external link)
by Russell Croman, and it is a bit more subdued than mine.

Here's a composite showing stepwise saturation increases, starting with the original, somewhat underexposed shot:

IMAGE: http://dandjreed.homedns.org/Moon_enhanced_stages.jpg
\

Don



  
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Bill ­ Boehme
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Dec 11, 2009 01:28 as a reply to  @ DonR's post |  #6

Don, I am fairly certain that I am not overexposing my moon shots. Here are three examples of my exposures. Usually, the only color that I see is sensor noise and a tiny bit of CA. I have profiled my cameras and built files for use in ACR that do not have the inherent typical color biases that the ACR and DPP Picture Styles produce.

Apollo 15 Site

Getting a Good Moon Exposure

LCROSS Site

I suspect that since I have eliminated the color biases of generic profiles by by building custom profiles, that is probably the reason that increasing saturation is not going to have much impact on a neutral object.


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DonR
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Dec 11, 2009 12:00 as a reply to  @ Bill Boehme's post |  #7

Hi Bill,

I have saturated the heck out of my images and still wind up with neutral gray.
Maybe some Rustoleum would help.

My best advice is don't be afraid to try new techniques, and don't give up so easily.:)

I took one of the moon images from your PBase site and increased the color saturation using the technique described by Alves. I did not manipulate the color balance in any way, but only increased the saturation. The resulting image resembles pretty closely most of the saturation-enhanced moon images you can find on the internet. I will post it here if you give your permission.

The goal of most astrophotography is to present celestial object with accurate detail and color that can't be seen by the human eye, even aided by a telescope. The camera is much more sensitive to low levels of color than the eye. Usually, however, lunar and planetary photography strives to present the colors of the subjects as they are seen by the eye but with resolution and contrast that the unaided eye can't match. Recent developments in scientific astronomy have inspired astrophotographers to look at the moon (and many other solar system objects) in a new way, enhancing and in some cases manipulating the colors that are present in these objects in order to reveal much more than the eye can see, even through large and powerful telescopes.

I suspect that since I have eliminated the color biases of generic profiles by by building custom profiles, that is probably the reason that increasing saturation is not going to have much impact on a neutral object.

Nothing could be farther from the truth, as your own image demonstrates. Again, I will post it here if you give your permission. The moon is far from a "neutral object".

Don




  
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Bill ­ Boehme
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Dec 11, 2009 21:34 as a reply to  @ DonR's post |  #8

Here you go Don. This image is from a single exposure as opposed to most of the images that I have posted. This would be more appropriate than using something that was created by statistical analysis of a bunch of images. It uses the ACR Camera Neutral picture style, but somewhere around ACR 5.4, Adobe incorporated a slight rotation about the L axis of the HSL colorspace to try to compensate for known discontinuities in the hue and saturation values in the CIE color model. The problem is that these changes shift colors as a function of luminance whether you want them shifted or not.

Click on the small image below to get the large image.

IMAGE: http://www.pbase.com/bill_boehme/image/120200377/medium.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.pbase.com …ge/120200377/or​iginal.jpg  (external link)

I suspect that one possible result might be color that is a function of luminance. Don, you have my permission to edit the image that this image is linked to (in other words, the large image).

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snapper27
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Dec 11, 2009 22:54 |  #9

Wow looks like it was taken with
a hubble. I am excited to try it myself . I'll kee u Posted.


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Bill ­ Boehme
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Dec 12, 2009 01:39 |  #10

snapper27 wrote in post #9181218 (external link)
Wow looks like it was taken with
a hubble. I am excited to try it myself . I'll kee u Posted.

If you are interested in getting good moon exposures, there are several good tutorials in this forum. I think that if you do a search on moon exposure, it will bring up some results. I have one tutorial, but it is mainly oriented towards post processing. The most important part is getting the exposure right in the camera. Here are a few key points:

  • The moon is very bright -- after all, it is being bathed in direct sunlight. You can't use the exposure meter in your camera. I suggest trying ISO 100, f/8 or even smaller aperture (up to f/16) and a shutter speed from 1/30 second to 1/500 second depending on how much of the moon is visible.
  • You need a very solid heavy duty tripod. The flimsy lightweight tripods vibrate way too much.
  • Lock up the mirror and use a remote shutter release. Mirror vibration will ruin a moon image.
  • The best conditions for getting a moon image is when the moon is near the zenith on a crystal clear night with a light breeze and in a very dark sky location. While a warm front means a stable upper atmosphere, it can also be responsible for a lot of haziness that obscures fine detail. A strong clear cold front can also cause problems with upper atmosphere instability that results in diffraction which distorts images as the air churns around.
  • Let your optics cool down for an hour or two to equalize with the air temperature, but watch out for dew or frost.
  • Your 70-200 with a 1.4X teleconverter should work very well as a telescope.
  • Focusing is extremely critical. Newer cameras with Live View are wonderful aids, but focusing is still very touchy -- extremely light touch is needed to fine tune the focus. I have not tried it yet on my camera lens, but I think that using a Bahtinov mask to focus on a star and then leaving the focus alone for moon images should work well. Google "Bahtinov" and you will find loads of information.
There are probably many other things that I have neglected to mention.

I was not certain from your post if you were asking for permission to edit the image that I posted.

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Cyclop
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Dec 12, 2009 09:04 |  #11

Excellent image/composition.


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DonR
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Dec 12, 2009 10:48 as a reply to  @ Cyclop's post |  #12

I was not certain from your post if you were asking for permission to edit the image that I posted.

Actually, I think he was talking about my image, Bill.

Thanks, snapper27. Let us know how it comes out. Don't let the skeptics discourage you, there is plenty of color information in moon images.

Bill, I will reply to your post shortly.




  
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DonR
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Dec 12, 2009 12:28 |  #13

Bill Boehme wrote in post #9180801 (external link)
Here you go Don. This image is from a single exposure as opposed to most of the images that I have posted. This would be more appropriate than using something that was created by statistical analysis of a bunch of images. It uses the ACR Camera Neutral picture style, but somewhere around ACR 5.4, Adobe incorporated a slight rotation about the L axis of the HSL colorspace to try to compensate for known discontinuities in the hue and saturation values in the CIE color model. The problem is that these changes shift colors as a function of luminance whether you want them shifted or not.

The image for which you provided a link has been desaturated, Bill, not color balanced. You can desaturate an image of a fruit bowl, too, but to conclude from the desaturated image that there is no color information in a fruit bowl would be erroneous.

I still offer to post the saturation-enhanced image of the image I downloaded from your PBase site, but I won't do it without your permission. Anyone, of course, can download that image - it's the one titled "Moon, April 3, 2009". It takes about five minutes in Photoshop to go through the saturation enhancing steps in the article by Alves that I posted a link to above. I chose that image from your moon images on PBase because it has the most neutral color balance starting out, and I didn't want to manipulate the color balance to make my point. So I skipped the steps in Alves procedure related to balancing the color, and the results were that your image contains very similar hues to mine and to just about all the other saturation-enhanced moon images you can find on the internet. But I suspect you have tried this procedure by now Bill and already realize this.

Your explanation of "a slight rotation about the L axis of the HSL colorspace" in Adobe ACR does not, of course, explain the many hues seen in these saturation-enhanced images, and the consistency in the hues among the images produced by numerous photographers with varied equipment and post-processing procedures. To suggest that the color seen in these images is due to noise, chromatic aberration or glitches in ACR is naive. Personally, I don't allow ACR or DPP to touch my RAW astrophotography images, and I use a newtonian reflector telescope, which is immune to chromatic aberration. I use Iris software, which is designed for astrophotography image processing, and decodes the Canon raw files without applying any manipulations, giving the user full control of all image processing aspects.




  
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Bill ­ Boehme
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Dec 12, 2009 13:40 as a reply to  @ DonR's post |  #14

Don, I used the "As Shot" WB setting and then applied the Camera Neutral style. The image was not desaturated. I think that the Camera RAW metadata which is attached to the file clearly shows this.


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Bill ­ Boehme
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Dec 12, 2009 14:10 |  #15

DonR wrote in post #9183546 (external link)
Your explanation of "a slight rotation about the L axis of the HSL colorspace" in Adobe ACR does not, of course, explain the many hues seen in these saturation-enhanced images .....

I didn't intend to imply this -- since this is a recent change in ACR, only my latest 7D images would even have that "enhancement" if I used one of the built-in" picture styles. If I had applied one of the style that I have generated for my camera then the "twist" in HSL values would not apply. I first noticed something odd after downloading the RC version of DNG Converter 5.6 from the adobe Labs site and it was confirmed by Adobe that they implemented this "improvement". The effect that I see in some images is that the hue in dark shadow areas is different from neutral midtones or neutral highlights.

Most of the images on my PBase site are generated from statistical manipulation of multiple images and most were shot from an urban location sometimes at low angle where atmospheric pollution and light pollution would become very significant factors in whatever colors showed up. Without some method of quantifying that data and effectively separating it from the image, I don't think that the final results provide much useful data. The image posted yesterday was made under fairly good conditions from a dark area, but there was some low level haze in the atmosphere.


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Color enhanced moon image
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