Image taken Sunday, April 1, 2012. Posted Saturday, March 31, 2012
License: CC-BY-NC-SA (What does this mean?)



Queens Park, Ipswich
General location: Australia, South-East Queensland

The Setup:

This is composed of 26 x 4 minute exposures (kept shooting until the battery ran out). Shot from the lookout at Queens Park, facing south. I checked the BOM before heading out this time.

Post processing:

The story starts with edits to the source images in Lightroom, exporting to Starstax, then re-importing the result to Lightroom for further edits. Lightroom 4 -

  1. Temperature +10 (I'm loving the warmer pics since seeing Mick Porter's warm long exposure from the other week)
  2. Presence: Highlights +40, shadows +5, whites +35, blacks -30, clarity +100. (The clarity step had the biggest immediate effect of brightening lots of trails that were barely visible before.)
  3. Save as preset, and apply to all 26 source photos
StarStax -
  1. Import and combine (lighten method)
Lightroom 4 -
  1. (Starting from zeroes again). Presence: highlights +30, shadows -100, whites +30, blacks -10
  2. Curves: darks -35, shadows +100. (The challenge here was to darken the sky while lightening the trees - where the trees started out darker than the sky.)
  3. Noise reduction: luminance +100, colour +100.
  4. Spot removal: cloned out some hot pixels (I did not get to take a dark frame as both of my batteries were flat)

The wash-up:

I'm happy with this, for an easily accessible location. Being the CBD as it is, there is limited visibility of stars below where this picture was framed. I am still on the lookout (ha) for a clearer location.

I made the biggest mistake of all here by not charging my batteries before heading out. After composition and test shots, I only got 26 * 4min shots before they were empty. The batteries are both five years old (plus however long they sat at the shop) and definitely not in peak condition. I still reckon I could get another hour if both batteries were fully charged.

What would you do?

You are welcome to have a go at editing this photo yourself. When editing in browser, maximum size is 1600x1200px and edits can be saved as a comment if you want to share your work. Go crazy!

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