night sky

Milky Way at Observatory Park - Re-processed in Luminar

I've had Skylum Luminar software for a couple years, but use it sparingly. I have my workflow in Lightroom and Photoshop.  Last week I had some Milky Way shots that I processed in LR, and I was happy with them, but decided to invest a little time in Luminar to see what I could get.  

My original edits in LR/PS highlighted more of the magenta and orange tones. In Luminar I deliberately shifted to more blue and yellow.

When I edited in LR, I also used Photoshop more that usual. For me, PS is primarily used for cloning or removal of objects. For these shots I did a lot more layers and masks to bring out the detail in the foreground.  I typically had a saturated layer with colors I wanted, a desaturated layer that I overlayed in PH, and a layer exposed for the foreground that I masked into the the sky layers. 

In Luminar, I was able to do all the layering with the program.  The only need for Photoshop was to remove a sign that was distracting. 

My rough Luminar workflow starts similar to the LR workflow, but the first layer (sky magenta/orange) turns the saturation down just a bit. Then I add an image layer where I adjust the sky color for blue and green. I couldn't get overlay to work the way I wanted, so I used the opacity slider to blend the layers. Next I used one or more image/adjustment layers to edit the foreground. Once those layers were edited, I merged the layers and ran the denoise tool.

I like the results I got with Luminar. I'm not sure if it was the software, or just deliberately working toward a different result. 

Edited in Skylum Luminar

Same shot as above edited in LR & Photoshop. 


Edited in Skylum Luminar

Same shot as above edited in LR & Photoshop


Milky Way Galaxy

Yesterday I explored a park that is new to me. Observatory Park in Montville, Ohio is part of the Geauga Park District.  It's a wonderful educational park with exhibits on weather, seismology and astronomy. At its dedication in 2011, Observatory Park received permanent distinction from the International Dark-Sky Association as a Silver Tier Dark Sky Park. As of May 2016, it was one of only 25 Dark Sky Parks in the U.S. (one of only five east of the Mississippi) and 34 in the world.

I went out to the park in the morning to scout it out during daylight. Took a nice walk through the Woodland Trail. With the clouds clearing in the evening, I decided to go back for stargazing and to try to get some shots of the Milky Way.  The sky wasn't quite as dark as I had hoped, especially around the horizon.  

I tried star shots one time several years ago, without much success. The camera and lenses I was using at the time were not adequate for night shooting. After upgrading my gear, and learning about the Dark Sky site, i decided to give it a try. I did some internet research to find out the proper settings and technique for shooting, and additional research to learn how to process the photos. 

Here's my first real attempt at Milky Way and star photography.