Lava Light Lessons #35…Editing Night Shots

Editing night shots gets a bit tricky. A couple of hints…

-The clarity, sharpening, white and exposure sliders in LightRoom will all bring out more stars.

-If you are seeing blue stars and they bug you, desaturate the blue slider in LR and it will turn them white.

-Use a great noise reduction program on your high ISO shots. I use Topaz Noise AI and love it. Hit one button and it will leave you with an image that does not look too smoothed.

-Blow your photo up large to check for things…things like little white dots in the black are of the foreground…that is ISO noise and has to come out. Try pulling back any exposure you have added or any shadows you adjusted or any saturation. If you can not get rid of it, black it out with a brush in LR. Look for those dots in the trees and rocks as well…you don’t want them in your shot.

The hardest thing is to get the coloration right. Where I live, the heart of the Milky Way often has a brown coloration to it. I try to leave it as is. If you saturate your photo heavily it will look really fake. Go with natural.

We strive for editing the shot as it was shot…nothing added nor taken out. However, if a plane streaked across the sky as I took the shot and left a red and white line…I promise you I am taking that out…unless I have a similar shot I can use without that distraction. Be careful, because taking stuff out can get to be a bad habit and many contests will not allow it…and they will catch you when you are required to send them the RAW file.

One last thing to ask yourself…Is there something unique about this shot or is it just another shot of the sky? Strive for the unique. In the unique shot below, I have the two vents of the Hawaii volcano casting up lava light, the Milky Way and the foreground tree cast in red..from the passing lights of a car hitting its brakes on the way down steep Mauna Kea. Uniques sells and this one has been an earner for a long time. Aloha.

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