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Thread: Starscapes

  1. #11
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    Just to let people know, I bought the Shooting Stars eBook and have found it really helpful. My 15-85 has just arrived so stay posted for some shots - hopefully if they're not too bad!!!

  2. #12
    Senior Member qwRad's Avatar
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    I usually shoot in Tv or full M mode with manual focus Samyang glass when I'm shooting start trails. I set the shutter speed to 30s and set the camera up shooting continuously with a remote shutter release that has a switch you can lock. Then I use an application called StarStaX (very simple) to combine the exposures into a single frame and then blend in the foreground from one of the images from the series or from a different exposure that I have taken of the scene before setting the camera to shoot continuously.

    Here is one example I took last Monday, click for a little background info in my blog
    The lens used was the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 on a 5D3, settings f/5.6, ISO 160 and shutter speed of 30s for as long as the battery holds



    For the final image I used around 220 thirty second exposures taken 15 seconds apart. I was trying my new intervalometer and messed this up, 30s exposures without an interval in between would be better for trails as now there are small gaps in them. Also as this is taken in a city there is lots of light pollution and only the very brightest stars show trails. I have also processed the images (tweaked white balance, contrast, clarity etc.) in Adobe Camera Raw before combining them with StarStaX. After combining I blended in the foreground from one of the later exposures with the fog and from one I took before setting the camera up.

    Hope this gives some tips and looking forward to your images!

    EDIT: Oh and one more thing you have to do is watch out for planes. The final composite doesn't look very nice when lots of plane light trails zig-zag all over it. You have at least a few options to get rid of plane trails.

    A) Just remove the images before combining/stacking that have plane trails in them. This makes gaps in the trails. This is what I have done here as I already have 15s gaps between the images from my settings so the resulting gaps don't matter much.

    B) Clonestamp/Healing brush the plane trails away from the images you will use for the composite before StarStaX. This will take time but with CS6 content aware healing brush it is fairly easy. I had about 40 images out of 586 (about 4h45min of 30s exposures) with plane trails on them when I took another star trail image that I'm currently working on and the removal was a bit time consuming but doable.

    C) Remove the images and clone/heal the breaks or gaps in the star trails after combining. I haven't done this but it seems much harder in my opinion than removing the plane trails before StarStaX.
    Last edited by qwRad; 01-19-2013 at 06:00 PM.

  3. #13
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    Sampsa

    Thanks so much for all the tips. The weather here in England has been so bad recently so not a clear sky in sight. I will be trying all of this when the clouds lift. I find the post processing difficult. All that you say about blending in the foreground, I have no idea how to do this!

    Thanks, edd

  4. #14
    Senior Member MrGreenBug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qwRad View Post
    I usually shoot in Tv or full M mode with manual focus Samyang glass when I'm shooting start trails. I set the shutter speed to 30s and set the camera up shooting continuously with a remote shutter release that has a switch you can lock. Then I use an application called StarStaX (very simple) to combine the exposures into a single frame and then blend in the foreground from one of the images from the series or from a different exposure that I have taken of the scene before setting the camera to shoot continuously.

    Here is one example I took last Monday, click for a little background info in my blog
    The lens used was the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 on a 5D3, settings f/5.6, ISO 160 and shutter speed of 30s for as long as the battery holds



    For the final image I used around 220 thirty second exposures taken 15 seconds apart. I was trying my new intervalometer and messed this up, 30s exposures without an interval in between would be better for trails as now there are small gaps in them. Also as this is taken in a city there is lots of light pollution and only the very brightest stars show trails. I have also processed the images (tweaked white balance, contrast, clarity etc.) in Adobe Camera Raw before combining them with StarStaX. After combining I blended in the foreground from one of the later exposures with the fog and from one I took before setting the camera up.

    Hope this gives some tips and looking forward to your images!

    EDIT: Oh and one more thing you have to do is watch out for planes. The final composite doesn't look very nice when lots of plane light trails zig-zag all over it. You have at least a few options to get rid of plane trails.

    A) Just remove the images before combining/stacking that have plane trails in them. This makes gaps in the trails. This is what I have done here as I already have 15s gaps between the images from my settings so the resulting gaps don't matter much.

    B) Clonestamp/Healing brush the plane trails away from the images you will use for the composite before StarStaX. This will take time but with CS6 content aware healing brush it is fairly easy. I had about 40 images out of 586 (about 4h45min of 30s exposures) with plane trails on them when I took another star trail image that I'm currently working on and the removal was a bit time consuming but doable.

    C) Remove the images and clone/heal the breaks or gaps in the star trails after combining. I haven't done this but it seems much harder in my opinion than removing the plane trails before StarStaX.
    Great shot! Thanks for sharing the details. I would like to try star trails one of these nights.. when it's warmer to stay out late at night and no work the next day.
    Cheers!
    --
    AnGelo Chiu (MrGreenBug in Flickr), Blog: http://mrgreenbug.blogspot.com

  5. #15
    Senior Member qwRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d0051m View Post
    Thanks so much for all the tips. The weather here in England has been so bad recently so not a clear sky in sight. I will be trying all of this when the clouds lift. I find the post processing difficult. All that you say about blending in the foreground, I have no idea how to do this!
    Quote Originally Posted by MrGreenBug View Post
    Great shot! Thanks for sharing the details. I would like to try star trails one of these nights.. when it's warmer to stay out late at night and no work the next day.
    Thank you both for the nice feedback!

    Yeah the weather has been quite grey and dull here too for most of January but lately there has been a couple of clear days which is nice. On clear nights it is a little bit cold though (-22 Celsius or -7.6 Fahrenheit during capturing of the image I posted) but fortunately I can leave the camera on top of my apartment building and sleep in my warm bed while it is doing the hard work. Attached is a crappy cell phone image of the camera when I got up to get it back inside around 8 AM after another night on the roof in the same conditions as the posted image was taken in.

    I would love to go camping somewhere north of Finland (in Lapland) where there is hardly any light pollution and there would even be a chance to see the northern lights. Should make for interesting night sky images. Maybe if I have the time in February.

    As far as blending in the foreground from another shot I just open both images in Photoshop and copy the composite with the star trails as a new layer on top of the image that I want to use for the foreground. Then I apply a simple layer mask to the composite layer where the star trails are and paint over the mask with a low opacity black Brush tool to reveal parts of the image layer below that has the good foreground.

    Hope this helps. You should also find plenty of tutorials from web/youtube if you google "working with layers" or "blending layers together in photoshop" or something along those lines.

    5D3 with battery grip + Samyang 8mm Fisheye after spending about 10 hours in -20 celcius:
    Name:  icecamera.jpg
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    Last edited by qwRad; 01-22-2013 at 01:57 PM. Reason: Corrected the wrong lens on the image caption.

  6. #16
    Senior Member qwRad's Avatar
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    Here is the other image (click the image for a larger version or check out the full blog post):



    Taken with the 5D3, battery grip and Samyang 8mm f/3.5 Fish-eye (built in lens hood removed to make it full frame compatible) combo that you can see in the post before.

    Settings were manual focus (obviously since the lens doesn't have AF), ISO 160, f/5,6, 30s.

    Total of 583 images of 30 second exposure were captured and they were shot without an interval in between them this time so the battery lasted just under 5 hours in -22 degrees Celsius.

    53 of the images were edited before stacking to remove plane trails. All images were also processed in Adobe Camera Raw for white balance and other minor tweaks before stacking. After these tweaks they were stacked using StarStaX.

    The foreground was blended into the final image from one of the latest exposures in the sequence in Photoshop. Then some spot removing and final tweaks to color, distortion, sharpening, noise reduction etc. were applied in Lightroom before exporting for web.

    Hope you like it. Any feedback and tips welcome and thanks for viewing!
    Last edited by qwRad; 01-22-2013 at 03:35 PM. Reason: Edited the post to be a bit easier to read

  7. #17
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    Hi All, finally got out last night to give it a try. Realised North Wales is not as dark as first thought!!! Any comments on image capture and suggestions for post processing would be gratefully received. All were taken at 15mm, ISO1600, f3.5, 30sec. Post processing all I have done is reduced the temperature. Thanks, Edd


    IMG_2523 by edd.jones, on Flickr


    IMG_2519 by edd.jones, on Flickr


    IMG_2525 by edd.jones, on Flickr

  8. #18
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    There are some great tips above. When ever I have a Do It Yourself Project, I often go to Flickr and see what others have posted about techniques. Many share their "secret sauce" and can us save a bunch of time to get the desired look. Good luck and do post some of the keepers! Erno

    http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=mono%20milky%20way

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpn/4799129509/

  9. #19
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    Finally got good enough weather to give it a go! Here are the results, ant thoughts?


    St Asaph 2 Stacked by edd.jones, on Flickr


    IMG_2600.JPGbw by edd.jones, on Flickr

  10. #20
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    A few thoughts from me.
    In the first picture, I like the exposure, and the distant light from the city. However, I think that it would be nicer with a wider angle on the sky to get it more like picture 2. In picture 2, I like the use of wide angle, and the tree in front, but the sky is a bit bright to me (at least on my screen). Darker mid-tones might give the image a more dramatic look. However, I like that you have tried B/W. If the sky was darker, I think B/W would create a "spooky" atmosphere in this image. Perhaps a tiny bit more foreground as well.

    Lars

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