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Shenandoah River and the Milky Way

Contains: Extremely wide field

Technical card

Imaging telescope or lens: Rokinon 16mm f2.0

Imaging camera: Canon 550D

Software: Microsoft Image Composite Editor LightroomPhotoshop

Resolution: 4000x2697 job: 1225448


Shenandoah River from Charles Town Road Bridge near Front Royal, West Virginia, July 11, 2016. Seven panel panorama (2 rows x 3 columns plus an extra), Canon 550D, Rokinon 16mm f/2.0 lens @ f/2.4, exposures 45 sec @ ISO3200 on Vixen Polarie Sky Tracker at 1/2 sidereal rate.

Please read my blog entry for more information about this photo!

Processing Workflow
(LR) Lightroom, (ICE) Microsoft Image Composite Editor, (PS) Photoshop CC
1. Raw conversion: correct lens distortion, exposure -0.3, blacks +25, noise reduction (luminance 7, color 18 all else default), export individual panels as sRGB 16-bit .tiffs (LR)
2. Stitch panels (ICE, spherical projection)
3. Duplicate into two layers - foreground and sky - sky layer on top (PS).
4. Generate layer mask for sky layer to mask foreground: in channels, duplicate blue channel, add levels adjustment to make foreground black and sky white. Load selection. Return to sky layers and add layer mask. Modify mask edge and add feathering to blend. (PS).
5. Remove light pollution gradient from sky layer by lowering red and green black points until a left hand curve edges of the RGB channels in a small selection at the very top of the image line up. (PS curves).
6. Darken the sky (PS curves).
7. Add contrast curve to the sky (PS curves).
8. Boost Milky Way saturation slightly to help it stand out from the yellow LP in the clouds (PS hue/saturation, increase saturation of reds +23).
9. Increase exposure of foreground slightly to help raise the brightness in the shadows (PS exposure gamma correction 1.10).
10. Small contrast curve to foreground (PS curves).
11. Convert to smart object (PS).
12. Sharpen for large scale details, Milky Way dust lane in particular (PS unsharp mask amount 7, radius 142).
13. Sharpen for small scale details (PS unsharp mask, amount 15, radius 11).
14. Final warping of edges, trying to maintain straight vertical lines (PS, warp).
15. Export as .tiff (PS).
16. Final crop (LR).
17. Resample to 4000 px on long edge while exporting to .jpeg (LR).



Jason Tackett


Shenandoah River and the Milky Way, Jason Tackett