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Milky Way Over Rockfish Valley

Contains: Extremely wide field

Technical card

Imaging telescope or lens: Rokinon 16mm f2.0

Imaging camera: Canon 550D

Mount: Vixen Polarie

Software: LightroomPixInsightPhotoshop

Resolution: 9191x5365

Dates: July 9, 2016

Integration: 0.0 hours

Avg. Moon age: 4.61 days

Avg. Moon phase: 22.18%

Astrometry.net job: 1161348

Description

Rockfish Valley Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia. Ten panel mosaic, 40 second exposures at ISO3200, Canon 550D, Rokinon 16mm f/2.0 lens at f2.4, Vixen Polarie Sky Tracker at 1/2 sidereal rate.

Please see my blog post for the whole story!
http://jasontackett-astrophotography.blogspot.com/2016/07/milky-way-over-rockfish-valley.html

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Processing Workflow
(LR) Lightroom, (PS) Photoshop CC, (PI) Pixinsight
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1. Correct lens distortion, chromatic aberration, exposure -1, blacks +25, tone curve to boost darkest values, export individual panels as sRGB 16-bit .tiffs (LR)
2. Stitch panels into panorama, export as sRGB 16-bit tiff with transparency (LR, Photo Merge, spherical projection)
3. Noise reduction (PI, TVGDenoise to lightness, strength 5, edge protection 2E-4, iterations 200; w/extracted lightness mask as local support and inverted lightness mask to target darker areas).
4. Correct light pollution by selecting previews at various parts of the sky away from the Milky Way and adjusting the red and green curves until the RGB histograms overlap (PS, Curves with mask protecting the foreground with transparency 60%).
5. Increase sky contrast with strong “S” curve (PS Curves with mask selecting the sky).
6. Accentuate contrast between Milky Way dust lanes and brighter regions (PS, Curves with mask selecting sky).
7. Lower sky background brightness slightly (PS, Curves with mask selecting sky).
8. Increase overall brightness (PS, Exposure +0.9).
9. Increase sky contrast (Brightness/Contrast adjustment, PS, Contrast +18)
10. Adjust contrast and brightness of foreground to soften transition to sky (PS Curves with mask selecting foreground).
11. Darken sky slightly (PS, Curves with mask selecting sky).
12. Add dark color around borders (PS, Paint Bucket, RGB = 12, 12, 12).

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Author

Jason Tackett
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Milky Way Over Rockfish Valley, Jason Tackett