On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
My apologies to Jim Appleton for the delayed text formatting cleanup on his On the Road post on Tuesday morning. I fixed it mid-morning, so if you were interested but weren’t able to take the time to read everything in the early morning yesterday, I hope you will go back and read what he wrote, now that the formatting is more welcoming!
Bill’s photos this week are kind of spooky, but in the good way! Evocative is the best word I can come up with. ~WaterGirl
The past month has not been good for shooting the last of the Milky Way season here in California since the skies have be shrouded in smoke. I’d posted my photo of the galactic core over the Amboy Crater on the local photography group’s Facebook page and one of the commenters asked if I’d tried using “star minimization”. “Star minimization” removes the stars(and noise) from the photo and allows you to process the nebulosity separate from the stars. I’ve used it for deep space objects and it really does highlight the dimmer parts of the image without blowing out the stars and any noise in the image. I’d never tried this approach to landscape astrophotography and after I used it on the Amboy Crater image, I wondered why I’d not done it before.
The first shot in this series involved another technique that I’ve used to photograph deep space objects used brought to Milky Way photography. I took a series of 30 second exposures using my star tracker(I was using it for photos of NEOWISE earlier in the evening). One of the reasons I’ve not used the tracker more for landscape astrophotography is that a long tracked photo blurs the foreground since the tracker is following the movement of the stars. This can make it difficult to blend the foreground in with the sky. I was normally shooting 5-10 minute exposures when I used the star tracker, so I thought I’d try shooting multiple exposures with the tracker and then stacking. I light painted the foreground and blended them.
The Milky Way shines over a grove of pine trees in the southern Lockwood Valley. This was taken using a star tracker for 20 30 second exposures and then stacked. I’m really happy with the color in the nebula.
This shot was taken last year at Joshua Tree near Barker Dam; 40 8 second exposures and then stacked. I’ve separated the resultant image into a star/starless set to reduce the stars and noise and increase the brilliance of the galactic center.
Milky shot at Zzyzx; 40 8 second images stack and then separated into star/starless pairs for separate processing. The foreground was 20 images stacked with noise reduction applied.
A Joshua Tree along the Ryan Mountain Trail with the Milky Way in the background.
Milky Way along the Ryan Mountain Trail in Joshua Tree with star minimization.
The Milky Way with a pine tree along the Ryan Mountain trail in Joshua Tree, with star minimization. The light at the horizon is from Palm Springs.
The galactic core rises over Amboy Crater. Star minimization was used on this shot.