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:
For the landscape (fig.1) I made 3 shots with the following parameters:
In Camera raw:
Moon and Venus rising together LandscapeMoon and Venus rising together Landscape fig.1
The image has the following problems:
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:
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 Mask1 fig.2
On the top layer with Mask1 we have to:
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:
Moon 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:
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 correction fig.4
Color Saturation and Variation
Moon and Venus rising together MMM and Color BoostMoon and Venus rising together MMM and Color Boost fig.5
To improve the details:
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 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 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-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!!
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