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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-16-2017, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Default Night Photography Specific Question

I have question for people that know photography. This is Chapel of Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona. It is heavily illuminated by artificial light in pitch dark. I'd like a photo that shows chapel, something like on this photo (25 sec, F8, full frame sensor). But I also want starry sky. I don't want star trails; I want stars fixed. I don't want to use high ISO. Multiple exposures won't work because stars move. You can see stars are blurry even on this 25 sec exposure. How to do this to get commercial quality photo?

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-16-2017, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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Here is good article about 1 possible technique:

https://petapixel.com/2016/02/20/sta...ay-landscapes/
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 08:51 AM
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There is something called the 500 rule although not written in stone but it is a useful guide. This person has a nice chart based on the focal length:
http://shuttermuse.com/how-to-avoid-star-trails/
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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thanks. This is helpful because it determines optimal focal length. But it is not the only issue. Key is that you need multiple exposures (2 or 3 for the foreground, 1 for the church, and then 5 or more for the sky). Then you need to blend them together in Photoshop, which is easy enough but problem is that stars "move" so for 5 exposures they will be all over the place. So you need specialized software to blend these 5 or more exposures to "pin" the stars into single layer. I don't know if Photoshop can do that.

People see these milky way shots but don't realize how much work goes into astrophotography,
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 01:06 PM
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I doubt there is any software which can align images where the subject has moved. I use focus stacking technique for macro photography and blend them together with the software Helicon Focus but if there is movement in any of the shots, the edges show up a ghosting.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by solo75 View Post
I doubt there is any software which can align images where the subject has moved. I use focus stacking technique for macro photography and blend them together with the software Helicon Focus but if there is movement in any of the shots, the edges show up a ghosting.
Software that aligns images with moving focus is the crux of this post. I didn't know it existed either, but apparently it does! One of them is Starry Landscape Stacker --- https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/star...ign-mpt=uo%3D4 I haven't used it & don't know how it works. Some people told me Photoshop, or some PS plugin can also do it.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 02:20 PM
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I see what the guy did. He stacked the foreground images separately from the sky (using Starry Landscape Stacker for the sky only) then combined the two in PS. I have no experience with PS so I wonder if you can mask out the sky in PS for the foreground images then use only the sky image from the Landscape stacker.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, that is exactly the idea. I know how to use layer masks in PS (fantastic tool!) --- so main problem is to produce "fixed starry layer". Then it is down to blending multiple exposures with layer masks. First foreground + church, mask the sky, and blend with "fixed starry layer".
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 02:32 PM
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I use that stacking method when shooting milky way photos. Starry Landscape Stacker is available for Mac only - I use Sequator ( https://sites.google.com/site/sequatorglobal/ ) to do the stacking, which is a free Windows alternative.

When you're doing stacking, it helps to also take a few "dark frame" exposures with the lens cap on, which are used to cancel out hot pixels in the image.

lonelyspeck.com has some good tutorials for doing this type of photography.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Great tips mark1 -- thanks so much! Photography is so much fun, but not easy to get right.
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