Posted Saturday, September 29, 2012


Brisbane City - Level 33

The Setup:

This year I was allowed to access one of the buildings in the city to see the fireworks. I set up the tripod with a shroud (to keep the reflections out). Unfortunately I must have bumped the focus ring while adjusting the tripod, as initial shots were in focus, but all the later ones were slightly out of focus. This year I decided to try an exposure stack, like star trails.

The camera & lens:

Camera: Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL
Lens: Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 USM IS @ 15mm
Exposure: 6" @ f/5.0, ISO 400 (M - varying exposures)

Post processing:

My thought process: The first few attempts to stack resulted in an overexposed mess. I ended up choosing 17 photos (out of 169) which were darker and had some colour left in (rather than overexposed to white). Lightroom 4 -

  1. For each source image, set highlights -50 (to darken them further)
StarStax -
  1. Stack images with the lighten method (like star trails)
Lightroom 4 -
  1. Load resulting stacked image
  2. Crop and do spot removal on window reflections
  3. Presence: Clarity +45, contrast -35
  4. Curves: Lights +65, Darks -15, Shadows +35
  5. Sharpening: Amount +30, Radius 3.0 (maximum), Detail +20, Masking +100 (failed attempt to mitigate the poor focus)

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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One Response to “Riverfire Stack”

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