View Full Version : Another view of the Milky Way

Diane Miller
09-14-2013, 05:49 PM
Canon 5D Mk III, Canon 24-70 f/2.8 at 24, ISO 6400, 20 sec at f/2.8. This was one of the exposures from near Mono Lake, with no interest on the horizon, so I composited in a tree from the bristlecones, but I think it's a pinon pine and not a bristlecone (it was from a lower elevation). Maybe I should put it in OOTB? Don't know what level of manipulation is accepted here. For me, it's about the result, not how it got there, as long as it isn't misrepresented.

Morkel Erasmus
09-15-2013, 06:57 AM
Nice frame Diane. I like that you picked a distinct silhouette branch for the anchor. I wish that the "shrubbery" behind it wasn't there so it was more starkly outlined.
Here's a repost to show you what can be done with the stars. I ran LCE using unsharp mask on the milky way alone and then took it into Viveza and Color Efex for quick structure and tonal contrast adjustments (standard presets but masked the effect to about 50%).

Best to work from RAW file though...:e3

Rachel Hollander
09-15-2013, 09:27 AM
Hi Diane - I always like these star shots and of the Milky Way in particular. I do think the fg trees need to be sharper. Morkel's rp has taken this up a notch.


Diane Miller
09-15-2013, 10:14 AM
I know PS very well but the abbreviation LCE isn't ringing a bell with me....

Don't remember if I used Structure or Tonal Contrast here, but I often do. I'll look at the processing on this one again and try another interpretation, but for me, the RP is pushed too far. It would be easy to sharpen the trees more -- I tried to get the other trees / bushes out of the picture but no way -- they were too close to the interesting one. (I need to carry a chain saw...)

The problem with Milky Way images is the need for high ISO and wide aperture on wide-angle lenses that give too much distortion near the edges. The ideal would be to use an equatorial mount and shoot many underexposures (lower ISO and smaller aperture) and stack them. That's how deep sky images are done -- I'm looking into how practical that is for a common photographer. :e3

Morkel Erasmus
09-15-2013, 12:01 PM
LCE = local contrast enhancement
See the sticky thread for Robert Amoruso's tutorials in the main landscape section.
I agree I may have pushed the PP here, but wanted to make a point. :w3

Diane Miller
09-15-2013, 12:44 PM
Ah yes, the old 20-50-0 USM trick. It's a good technique and I didn't think to use it here, although I did use Clarity in the RAW conversion and Nik Structure and Tonal Contrast. Some of the older techniques have been made less important by some of the newer plug-ins and the new adjustments in ACR / LR Process 2012, but some still have their place.

I have reworked the image, using another shot of the FG trees where I did get a little closer and "cleared out" some of the brush. Also found a slightly different shot of the Milky Way that isn't so cut off on the right edge. The trees in the OP here are sharp in the PS file but I probably neglected to sharpen the JPEG -- again. I'll get trained eventually.

I'll post it in a separate thread since it's a different image.

Opinions and suggestions always appreciated -- thanks!