How would you process this nightscape panorama?

Welcome to El Teide National Park on the lovely island of Tenerife. This otherworldly area provides a lot of interesting lava rock formations, it’s a real playground for photographers.

The attached raw file contains a Panorama that I stitched in LR with 5 vertical single shots.

Please don’t be surprised by the crazy white balance. I used an Astro-modified camera here.

And now have fun with the editing, I’m really curious how you will edit this image.

Raw File

DSC05720-Pano.dng (92 MB)

You may only download this file to demonstrate how you would process the image. The file is Copyright of the photographer, and you must delete the raw file when you are done. Please post a jpg of what you created, along with an explanation of what you did and why you did it.

My Edit (click to see)

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Very nice image. Love the pano treatment.

Night sky images are fun to process and results can be wildly different. When I photograph the night sky, I see the sky with a blue cast which leads me to process in that direction. It’s not a right or wrong, it’s a personal preference. Here’s my version with the layer stack. Raw adjustments were made to WB and a few other minor tweaks. Mostly changed in PS.

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This is a beautiful image. I love all the colours in the milkyway.
Here’s my version of your shot. I changed the white balance a little and processed the sky with more clarity and dehaze in the RAW editor of Photoshop.
I upped the exposure a lot for the foreground to bring out some details, again in the RAW editor.
Lastly I dodged and burned parts of the milkyway so they stand out a bit more.

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Jens, this is so cool. I love your image. I’ve never shot the night sky, so it was a real pleasure to play with your raw image. I decided to take an extreme turn on this and try Black & White…

I processed this in Capture One. I did some basic adjustments, then selected the sky and adjusted it separately from the ground. I inverted my sky selection so I could tweak the ground. I also added a slight gradient to the bottom so I could darken the ground there a bit more. Finally, I cloned out a few of the footprints I could see in the foreground. Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to play around.

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Hi Keith,
very nice. Thanks for your contribution. It is interesting to see your own images in different interpretations.
I like the editing challenge category here.

Hi Cornelia,
thank you for your edit. It’s beautiful.
I’m always a little torn about how bright I want a night shot to be. I like the amount of foreground detail visible in your version.

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Wow David. Thanks for your black-and-white version. I never thought about converting a Milky Way image to black and white. But you generally inspire me to experiment more with black-and-white conversions.
The Image Processing Challenge is really a lot of fun.

@Jens_Ober , thanks for sharing this image with us. I almost never do any nighttime photography so this was both very fun and challenging for me to process.

  1. I opened this image up in ACR to first adjust the WB because I wanted to cool down the image. I cranked the slider all the way to the left (blue) but it still wasn’t enough. It’s interesting how Astro-modified cameras are so different in this aspect.

  2. Anyway, after I adjusted the WB I also decreased the highlights and boosted the shadows and then on to Photoshop I went.

  3. The first thing I did in PS was to crop the image. I thought there was too much foreground so I got rid of a fair bit of it. Also, it looked to me (and I may be wrong) that the horizon line was wonky due to the super wide, 180° pano stitch so I also attempted to level the horizon with the Transform and Distort tools.

  4. Next, because I thought the image was still too warm, I added a cool blue “Photo Filter”. It made the sky better but it was too cool on the land so I made a sky selection and only applied the filter to the sky.

  5. Next, I added a curves adjustment layer with a S curve to increase the overall contrast in the image.

  6. Then, some dodging on the central rock formation to bring out some of the details.

  7. Then, I made a clone layer where I cleaned up all the little bits in the sand that I found distracting.

  8. Next was a levels adjustment with a light mask to darken down the bright spot in the sky to the left of center.

  9. Then Nik Viveza for some “structure” and a bit of saturation.

  10. Then a little more dodging, again on the central rock formation.

  11. Added a vignette because no image should be without one. :blush:

  12. And finally a final curves layer to finish things off.


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@Tom_Nevesely, thank you for your edit and the detailed explanation.
I really like the nightly atmosphere because of the dark foreground.

And I appreciate the tight cropping at the bottom (similar to the edit by @David_Bostock).

Very nice image Jens! Overall I think your edit looks great. I went a little more blue in the sky since we humans tend to prefer that, even if it’s not accurate :smile: I also went cooler and darker on the foreground to make it feel like it was taken at night. I tightened up the crop a bit too. The foreground could really benefit being run through DxO PureRaw, but you’d have to do that before stitching. This is fun!

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Beautiful image Jens! Thanks for adding your image to the processing challenge. I don’t shoot many night scenes so this was pretty fun! Here is my version which is probably similar to some others on here but not as good. I spent most of my time working on the sky, maybe went too far :slight_smile:

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Hi David,
thanks for your edit.
I like the tight crop and the fact that the foreground looks like photographed at night.
I think I will consider a tight crop in a re-edit.

About the noise reduction: You mentioned DxO PureRaw. I have already read about it somewhere on NPN. Can you recommend it? I use Topaz DeNoise AI. The results are sometimes quite good.

Yes, I would highly recommend it, especially for nightscape foregrounds. I’ve found DxO to be best for foregrounds and Topaz is the best for the sky.

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Hi Glenn,
thank you very much for participating. It’s great fun to see your own image edited by others.

I like your result too. The sky is looking good. I don’t think you overdid it. :wink:

Okay, that sounds like a good combination.
Thanks a lot.