Art of the Night

Had a lot of fun out tonight at The Art of Night - The Photography of Mark Gee event hosted by Mark Gee in Wellington. There were loads of people there, apparently 850+. In the end I wound up helping a few people to get better images of the night sky, I hope there was a lot of other people helping others out because for some this was their first attempt. I met Mark later in the night which was interesting.

One of my goals for the trip was to try stacking astro images in Photoshop (using this method). To do this I knew I would need 10 to 15 frames of exactly the same view pretty close together, so using the intervalometer in Magic lantern I set it to 15 frames, 1 sec apart, 30 sec exposure at f4.5, ISO 3200 and then hit go. Then the next day I loaded the images as layers into Photoshop, duplicated the layers, put all the duplicated layers into a folder and named the folder land. Put all the original layers into another folder and name this sky. Go to the first layer in the sky folder and make a mask (don't need to worry about it being too accurate just make sure no land is showing) that hides the land or any fixed objects. Then copy this layer mask to every other layer in the sky folder. Now select all the layers in the sky folder and use auto align images. Once the images are all aligned in the sky folder, remove all the masks from the layers in the sky folder and then select all the layers in the sky folder again and convert to smart object and choose blend mode mean. Now go to the folder marked Land (this should be below the sky folder in the layer stack) make sure no other layers are select and then select all the land layers (no need to worry about masks here) and convert to smart object and choose blend mode mean. Now with the two resulting smart objects mask about the blurred land from the sky smart object to show the land from the land smart object below. 

 The image above was created like this except I then dropped a new land image shot separately as it was much better and then processed using Nik Color Effects pro (Bleach bypass filter) and Nik Define. Love the resulting image and the noise seems so much less.