Moon and Venus Rising Together

February 28, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

How to capture the Moon rising

 

 

Knowing that on 26 - Feb morning the Moon and Venus would have been in close conjunction, I decided to capture their path from the sea to the sky.

For this reason I walked to the sea coast of marine nature reserve of Plemmirio until I arrived to Punta Mola. By means of my Iphone and the app. TPE I found the right direction where the Moon would have risen from the sea. I placed my tripod and started to check the light condition of the sky.

 

These are shooting conditions for the Moon:

  1. 1.6 sec, iso 800, f3.5 @ 50mm;
  2. Time intervall 3 min;
  3. Bracketing +1 stop, -1stop to find the right exposition.

For the landscape (fig.1) I made 3 shots with the following parameters:

  1. 180 sec, iso 400, 3.5 @ 50;
  2. Blending in PS in lighten mode to point out the star trails.

In Camera raw:

  1. all parameters were at 0;
  2. color temperature was 3900 and Hue 1 for the landscape;
  3. color temperature was 5285 and Hue 8 for the "Moons".

 

The Landscape

Moon and Venus rising together landscapeMoon and Venus rising together LandscapeMoon and Venus rising together Landscape fig.1

 

The image has the following problems:

  1. Noise (not so much but there it is);
  2. The color of the sea in Lab is: 15, 3, 5 meaning that it is orange;
  3. A little gap in the star trails that i fixed by means of the clone tool (forgive this little sin).

 

To remove the noise I had to apply a strong noise reduction filter with a mask (MASK1) to protect the sea shore on the right hand side that can be created in the following way:

  1. Convert in Lab;
  2. Duplicate the background layer;
  3. Apply a white mask;
  4. Apply the b inverted channel to the mask;
  5. Fill with 50% grey in lighten mode;
  6. Auto tone;
  7. Invert the image and apply a strong contrast curve;

The result can be seen in fig.2 and will be useful during all the workflow.

 

Moon and Venus rising together Mask1Moon and Venus rising together Mask1Moon and Venus rising together Mask1 fig.2

 

On the top layer with Mask1 we have to:

  1. Apply a strong noise reduction amount 10 and color noise reduction 100% (all the rest @ 0);
  2. Change the mask density @ 90% to reduce a little bit the noise even in the rocks.
  3. Save;
  4. Flatten image;
  5. Convert in RGB.

 

Color Correction

To correct the color of the sea, until it reaches the b negative values, we need to apply a curve but at the same time we need also to protect the rest of the photo. That can be achieved by doing the following steps:

  1. Find the best channel in RGB with the highest contrast between sea and sky; in this case the R channel;
  2. Apply a layer curve 
  3. Apply the R channel to the white mask;
  4. Apply a curve on it to add contrast and split the sky from the sea;
  5. Apply the Mask1 to the new mask with the blending option darken (fig3).

 

Moon and Venus rising together mask2Moon and Venus rising together mask2Moon and Venus rising together mask2 fig.3

 

To color correct the sea increase the blue and blend the result in color mode.

The new readings in Lab changed from  16, 3, 5   to  16, 3, -1. Furthermore I applied a contrast curve only to the coast by means of the inverted MASK1.

 

To point out the star trails:

  1. Flatten the image and duplicate twice the background;
  2. On top layer apply the find edge filter;
  3. Apply a layer curve to the inverted image and close the shadow leaving the star trails that PS thinks is a border;
  4. Convert in Lab without merging the layers;
  5. Apply a mask to the second layer;
  6. Apply the luminosity channel of top layer into the mask;
  7. Blur 2 pixel;
  8. Deselect the top layer;
  9. Apply the unsharpening filter to the second layer (all channel selected) with the following values 300, 30, 2;
  10. Luminosity and saturation of the stars will increase.

 

It is important to apply these steps in Lab because in Lab it is mathematically possible to define colors with the highest luminosity but that at the same time with a very high saturation. These kind of colors are called imaginary colors or impossible colors because our eyes are not able to sense colors as bright as the white but at the same time very saturated as could be the red of a rose.

To visualize these colors, PS reduces the luminosity as far as the color information returns to be visible.

Working in Lab with these technique allows us not to clip the star trails with an high luminosity and to maintain the color of the stars itself at the same time.

Layers need to be blended in RGB in lighten mode @ 60% opacity. Remember to delete the top layer that we do not need anymore.

 

Moon and Venus rising together noise reduction and color correctionMoon and Venus rising together noise reduction and color correctionMoon and Venus rising together noise reduction and color correction fig.4

 

Color Saturation and Variation

  1. Apply the MMM and Color Boost action from the PPW panel of Dan Margulis;
  2. Apply Mask1 in darken mode to MMM color layer's mask;
  3. Change the mask density to 75%;
  4. Change the opacity of MMM and Color Boost group to 50%  such as to increase the color variation and saturation mainly in the sky (fig.5).

 

Moon and Venus rising together MMM and Color BoostMoon and Venus rising together MMM and Color BoostMoon and Venus rising together MMM and Color Boost fig.5

 

 

Unsharpening

To improve the details:

  1. Flatten the image and duplicate the background;
  2. Apply on top layer the Davide Barranca's "little hammer" with the following values of the unsharpening filter: 500, 2, 5;
  3. Duplicate again the background and apply the Davide Barranca's "little hammer" with the following values of the unsharpening filter: 200, 30, 2;
  4. Move the result on top layer and change the opacity @ 15%;
  5. Apply on both layers the inverted Mask1 such as to improve only the coast;
  6. Duplicate again the background and move it on top;
  7. Apply the unsharpening filter to the half-tones (following the Bruce Fraser technique) with radius 15 and 50% opacity;
  8. On this layer apply the inverted Mask1 and on it use a white brush to point out the clouds structures.

With these steps we have increased the faint details and the micro-contrast of the shore and the structure of the clouds (fig.6).

 

Moon and Venus rising together unsharpeningMoon and Venus rising together unsharpeningMoon and Venus rising together unsharpening fig.6

 

The shot is now ready for us to apply the moon sequence. Each moon layer needs to be blended in lighten mode until every moon is in place (fig.7).

 

Moon and Venus rising together finalMoon and Venus rising together finalMoon and Venus rising final fig.7

 

Here you can have a look to the image before - after post production.

Moon and Venus rising together before-afterMoon and Venus rising together before-afterMoon and Venus rising together before-after fig.8

 

Do not forget that even the best shot you can do will not compete with the nature show itself!!

 

If you think that this Tutorial could be useful to other astronomy and astrophotography amateurs, please feel free to share it!!

Paint the Sky, Share your Knowledge!!

Ciao

Dario 


Comments

No comments posted.
Loading...

Some of articles are also available to download in pdf format in english and/or italian language. Please have a look at the "PDF download" page.

 

Do not forget to vist the "Publications" page where you can find my work published in an astronomical magazine
 

Subscribe
RSS
Archive
January February (3) March (3) April (1) May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November (1) December
January (1) February March April May June July August September October November (1) December
January February March April May June July August September October November December