Thursday, April 23, 2015

Milky Way Shooting Post Processing

It's been a while since my last post. Here I would like to share my way of post process the milky way RAW. If you want to know how to shoot the milky way at the first place, you can read my previous post here. Since my last attempt, I have been always looking for new location to shoot the milky way. The galaxy looks the same anywhere, but how you compose the foreground to compliment it matters.

Remember the less light pollution the area you shoot, the better the output captured. You can then extract much better detail from the distance stars. You always want to make sure you have record the best possible RAW file to begin with.

I use Lightroom for post processing the RAW file. First is the white balance.
  • White Balance
Often I follow the night sky white balance. I find at Temp 2650, the night sky looks natural. The tint you may adjust to the left (looks greener) or to the right (looks purplish) to suite your taste.
  • Contrast
Increase the contrast to makes the milky way stands out.
  • White & Black
Increase the White and decrease the Black. This will makes the stars pop. You manage your slider intensity just before the sky looks pitch black.
  • Clarity
Increase the clarity for more sharpness
  • Saturation & Vibrance
Increase the saturation and vibrance to bring out the color of the milky way.
  • Tone Curve
Increase the highlights and lights and decrease the shadows.

  • Noise Reduction
Often we need to shoot at high ISO level (i.e. 1600 - 6400) that will introduce noise. Drag the Luminance level from 0 to about 10-20. You cannot eliminate all the noise wihout sacrificing the details. There should be a balance there.
  • Adjustment Brush
Lastly, we need to use the adjustment brush to enhance the milky way. Select the milky way path using the adjustment brush and then increase the contrast, highlight, saturation, clarity, sharpness and reduce only the shadow.

With this few simple tweak, here I would like to show you the before and after post processing photos.



Hopefully this can be helpful to you all. Happy shooting and editing!