Milky way at Marlboro point (1st edit + 2nd edit)

Ben Egbert

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Staff member
Not happy with the colors in this one. I worked hard to make the foreground seem natural and get the sky bluish but keep the stars white.

I shot the sky at ISO4000, 20 seconds 14mm f2.8 and the foreground at 6 minutes at ISO800 14mm f2.4. I also shot several at ISO6400 for stacking but the 6 minute exposure was cleaner and retained more detail.

I used Topaz denoize AI on both images but at different settings. I used Jim's sky and star mask method to brighten the stars and make the sky bluer without effecting the stars. I brightened the foreground and then cooled it off as it was too warm.

After blending the two, I did some additional work to enhance brightness and contrast.

I made several from scratch versions and this is the best, but I honestly don't know what I want it to look like.

All help appreciated.

210507-24564-R5 A.jpg


Fix sky color add brightness to far foreground
210507-24564-R5 B.jpg


Here is a total redo.

210507-24564-R5 ground A sky a.jpg
 
Last edited:

JimFox

Moderator
Staff member
Hey Ben,

The Milky Way itself looks very nice! :)

The sky has a purple cast, changing that is something I would look at.

This is a case where you would have been better off blending in the ground from an image taken at Twilight. But I think you had told me that you moved your camera when the Milky Way came up? That's a plus for figuring out where the Milky Way will rise at, and then setting up your camera. It's also a great time to get your focus set up too. What you have for the ground layer isn't too bad, it feels a little over processed like with the sky, but it's not too bad. The only way I can see to improve the ground is to use a twilight capture to blend in. Sometimes I have blended it in with the night version using an Opacity layer so you can adjust just how much of the twilight capture you want to show through.

PS. The brightness/darkness of the sky looks really good in this one. Work on the color cast in the sky and you will have that looking pretty good I think. Of course I have been up for 36 hours since I did an all nighter at Joshua Tree last night, so my eyes might work better in the morning.
 

Ben Egbert

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Staff member
Thanks Jim. For the ground layer, is the problem color or brightness? I intend to start over after comments because the best way to correct the sky is at the start with the sky/star mask and before too many other changes are made.

I use a large radius small amount USM to enhance the starts and MW. Is it too much?
 

Kyle Jones

Moderator
I was waiting to see this on a larger screen before commenting. I agree that the sky is a little too purple - but that is an easy tweak to fix.

The first thing I see when I look at this is the contrast in the sky. I think you can back off on it a little and still have plenty of drama in the stars. I like the foreground. If it were mine I might cool the color on the ground just a little and open up the shadows a touch in the back half.

I think you have a great image to work with here and looks good as is. A little more work and it should be fantastic.
 

Ben Egbert

Forum Helper
Staff member
I was waiting to see this on a larger screen before commenting. I agree that the sky is a little too purple - but that is an easy tweak to fix.

The first thing I see when I look at this is the contrast in the sky. I think you can back off on it a little and still have plenty of drama in the stars. I like the foreground. If it were mine I might cool the color on the ground just a little and open up the shadows a touch in the back half.

I think you have a great image to work with here and looks good as is. A little more work and it should be fantastic.
Thanks Kyle now I have input from the big two, I will have a good idea where to start.
 

JimFox

Moderator
Staff member
Hey Ben, I agree with Kyle, there is too much contrast in the sky. For the ground Kyle also hit on how it's brighter at the bottom and pretty dark in the back. Did you use a grad to blend the two?

The brightness in the ground at the front is pretty close to where it should be, if you can extend that brightness level to the back of the ground layer you will have that nailed.
 

Kyle Jones

Moderator
And to me the brightness level doesn't have to be brought up to match - the spotlighting on the interesting features in the front is really cool. I'd just bring the back up a little so the difference isn't so stark
 

JimFox

Moderator
Staff member
And to me the brightness level doesn't have to be brought up to match - the spotlighting on the interesting features in the front is really cool. I'd just bring the back up a little so the difference isn't so stark
Good point.
 

Ben Egbert

Forum Helper
Staff member
Can't write presets. It loads horrible slow and then fails to write presets. I looked up fixes and applied them plus Photoshop just did and update that purported to fix it. So far it's not fixed. I am going to try a reboot and then go to lunch.
 

Ben Egbert

Forum Helper
Staff member
Ok, I made some changes to the posted file to see if I am going the right way before a total rework. I selected the sky as a layer and tried to reduce purple. But purple is not a selectable color in photoshop. I tried increasing blue and reducing red, But I had the best effect with a coollng filter.

On the base layer, I use Topaz exposure to brighten it and used a gradient mask starting at the horizon and came down about half way.
 

JimFox

Moderator
Staff member
The BBQ was great Ben! :)

Your last edit? Print it!!! :)

I think it all came together for you with that last edit Ben. Good job here. Night shots like this can be a process, and you worked your way through it nicely.
 

Ben Egbert

Forum Helper
Staff member
I like this last version - nice work with the suggested edits.
Wow, really nice!
The BBQ was great Ben! :)

Your last edit? Print it!!! :)

I think it all came together for you with that last edit Ben. Good job here. Night shots like this can be a process, and you worked your way through it nicely.
Thanks guys, I just needed your help in deciding on the right look. This does not come natural to me. Many thanks.
 
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