Taylor Franta's picture

Eye of Heaven

I greatly enjoy the experimentation process. This applies to both taking pictures as well as editing them. I spent quite some time editing this tracked shot of the Milky Way and stumbled upon a fantastic technique to help bring out detail in the Milky Way. I doubt I am the first to use this technique but I have not seen any tutorials showcasing it yet.

One of the problems that arises when editing the Milky Way is that when you use techniques that bring out details in the Milky Way you are also bringing out the details of the stars. They can become very sharp and overwhelm many images. The technique I used helps to avoid this problem.

Step 1: Use the dust and scratches filter in PS to remove nearly all but the brightest stars. This will leave you with only the dust lanes of the Milky Way.

Step 2: Sharpen and add contrast accordingly. Without the stars present you can do this more significantly than you would be able to had the stars still been present. There are numerous tutorials out there explaining how to bring out detail in my Milky Way so I will spare you the details there.

Step 3: Add the stars back to the degree of your liking.

Ultimately you can bring out more details in the dust lanes by eliminating the distracting stars. Of course the Milky Way was tracked here and I also used some dodging and burning to add more of a glow to the horizon as well as to further accentuate the dust clouds.

I hope this helps anyone who enjoys widefield astrophotography.

35mm · f/2.5 · 120s · ISO 640
Log in or register to post comments