I took this Milky Way photo. My first time. (I know the tree on the bottom is distracting, and it lacks an anchor, I only had 10 minutes before we needed to leave, so it is what it is)
I processed it based on limited knowledge of how to process it. I would love feedback and to see what you can pull out of this Raw and if you think the exposure was too dark, light, etc., in the raw file to improve the In-camera process and the LR/ PS processing.
In this, All edits are in LR - a few linear Gradient masks to improve the blacks on the edges. They were pretty black and need more than the milky way area.
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.
You did a very good job! A few more gradient masks could clean up the rest of the vignetting, but there will be limited information in those dark areas, but “quiet” edges are not a bad thing. You could desaturate and somewhat darken the tree, but it’s not really the point here.
There are issues with the capture. It’s a bit underexposed, but that’s almost unavoidable with no tracking. It can be brought up in the raw converter, and the increased noise in doing so is basically no worse than going to a higher ISO. I just tried the new Denoise in LR on an old Milky Way image and it did a very good job. The exposure time was a bit too long, judging from the elongation of the stars in the center. (My limit is about 10-15 seconds.) There is a lot of distortion of the stars in the upper corners from the lens – not a lot to do about that – it’s common with wide-angle lenses and stars, but some are better and some worse. Reviews are mostly useless. There is also a lot of CA – again, that’s the lens. Some are better stopped down but then you need a longer exposure time.
I like to frame the brightest part more toward the left in order to leave room for the lovely dust arms that reach out to the right to Antares, which is off your frame to the right.
The single biggest advantage for a Milky Way is a super-dark sky with clear, dry air with no moonlight. (A 10,000 ft mountaintop out west is about ideal.) But that’s hard to come by. I see from your web site you’re based in FL. (Lovely work, too!!) So I think you’ve come very close to a great job if this was taken down there.
Thanks, I was actually in Tenn, but there was a lot of Light Noise in the valley. Definitely not a Dark sky. Thanks for all the input. Seeing I don’t know what the dust arms are, I will have to study the milky way a bit more from my vantage point before composing next time.
I agree with the tree. It was lighting up with landscape lights, too, at 4 am wow.
So to recap, 10-15 sec MAX with no tracker. most likely there will be noise just how you deal with it in post
What about colors is that more of a personal thing I see some blue, some more purple etc? not sure if that is an artistic license or what it looks like in different lighting conditions. I will pay attention to other now. Thanks again!
You can easily go to ISO 3200 or even 6400 with that camera! I’m about to do a post in Discussions that will show you the noise and how it can be dealt with. Use a sturdy tripod and remote release. For 50mm I wouldn’t go more than 5 sec. A wider angle will allow a little more time before stars give noticeable streaks.
The dust arms show in these two shots – both are tracked and stacked in astro software for NR. They are 17mm and 50mm. The dust lanes reach out and down to the right toward Antares, which is a prominent orange star.
Both were shot from locations that are about as dark as the inside of a cow.