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Thread: Colour, saturation and stacking

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    Colour, saturation and stacking

    Good day, I would like to ask for help understanding and using editing software to clear up moon shots please? Any help including off site tutorials will be welcome.

    Quite a bit of information assumes computer knowledge I don’t have. Not that long ago I used MS Access to build maintenance systems. I used all of the available tools to build the systems. That was then, I am still ok using access, no processing help there though.

    Is stacking used to provide a clear image rather than a coloured one?
    When stacking, are the images overlaid and integrated as each one is added?
    (As a basic level) Is the clear image then ready to export?
    Are the stacking capabilities of an editing program suitable to use?

    Are the colours then brought to the surface using an editing app, e.g. Lightroom, Corel, Luminar?

    I am a little behind the eight ball as my computer is unable to run Lightroom, not a problem in itself, most of the tutorial information available uses LR as the editor.

    I have downloaded AutoStakkert 3, selected several photos, stacked them, no obvious change. Not sure I actually dropped any photos.

    Thank you in advance, this has been causing me many dark thoughts.
    Journeyman (Dennis)
    Last edited by Journeyman; 04-04-2021 at 10:02am.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
    Good day, I would like to ask for help understanding and using editing software ...
    ...
    Is stacking used to provide a clear image rather than a coloured one?
    When stacking, are the images overlaid and integrated as each one is added?
    (As a basic level) Is the clear image then ready to export?
    Are the stacking capabilities of an editing program suitable to use?

    Are the colours then brought to the surface using an editing app, e.g. Lightroom, Corel, Luminar?

    I am a little behind the eight ball as my computer is unable to run Lightroom...

    I have downloaded AutoStakkert 3, selected several photos ...
    ...

    this has been causing me many dark thoughts.
    Journeyman (Dennis)
    Lo, Journeyman, for your doubts begin to have light cast upon them! Verily, it is (much) as you say.

    Just some prelims from me...

    Do you use (ie, subscribe to) Photoshop? I ask because its stacking abilities (using layers) are pretty good.
    Yes, Autostakkert (which I no longer really have any use for) is one of the go-to program for this.

    There are a couple of "Astakk" users here on AP (@nardes being one). However, he usually captures images for
    stacking using a specialised CCD camera (and guided telescopes).

    Just to detour from stacking for a moment, many clear shots of Luna can be got as single images with optimal
    camera settings and and techniques, and some judicious but not necessarily flamboyant PP.

    That it from me
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    My laptop does not have the capacity to run Photoshop or Light room. When I last tried to download the Adobe products it was no go. I had even reconciled myself to paying (Aaah!!!).

    Probably time to move from a coal fired laptop to an atomic powered model.

    I would be happy to use one of my clear shots, it is the colour bit that is eluding me. When I increase colour or saturation the whole shot gains the colour, not just the areas of interest.

    Other than that I am ok with the Corel and Luminar PP editing stuff. I have a screen full of apps from paid apps to freeware.

    Thank you Ameerat42, kind regards Journeyman

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    I like my computer more than my camera farmmax's Avatar
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    Are you using Corel Paintshop Pro (or essential)? It is a pretty good substitute for Photoshop. There are plenty of good youtube videos to help you along. Have a look at the Photo Blend option.

    Photoshop Elements is a chopped down version of Photoshop and should run on your laptop. It does the job for a lot of people. No subscription, just normal paid for software. There is a free trial available. The old versions of Photoshop would probably run on your computer as well, if you can find one.

    To apply effects to part of an image, the use of layers is the best way. Corel Paintshop fully supports layers. If you have never used layers, find a basic tutorial to start with. Here is the first one in a series for Corel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnruOLwdYbc. Layers are very powerful and if you intend photo editing, layers are almost an essential skill. If your brain can cope with Relational Databases, layers should be a breeze

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
    ....

    I would be happy to use one of my clear shots, it is the colour bit that is eluding me. When I increase colour or saturation the whole shot gains the colour, not just the areas of interest.

    ....
    You shouldn't need to do much PP for a typical moon shot.
    Unless you are referring to a shot, or series of shots, using a telescope or something.

    Colour tweaking shouldn't be required too much, just watch your white balance.

    And when you refer to 'clear up' the shots in PP, what exactly do you refer too? Noise?

    If noise, then we have to ask what settings/methods are you using to get your moon shots(again assuming typical 'backyard' type stuff, and not some super high res stuff.

    I would suggest to post up an image with full exif intact for us to help you with your settings instead. Other than a bit of sharpening and WB, you shouldn't require too much PP.

    Typical exposure settings would be (approx!!) 1/500s f/8 @ ISO200. So shutter speed is usually quite 'high-ish', and ISO is usually set quite low.
    Are you using tripod? What focal length for the lens?

    Post up an example image of what you want PPed, I think that would help us to help you better(remember full exif).
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon}; -> 50/1.2 : 500/8 : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8 ais : 105mm f/1.8 ais : 24mm/2 ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC

    {Yongnuo}; -> YN35/2N : YN50/1.8N


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    Gear etc,

    Good day Arthur, I will post a couple of shots and a photo of my camera etc.

    I am happy with the photo results, it will be good to see the clouds move on prior to the next visible moon cycle.

    The recent photos that I have used have been cropped + Luminar AI tone only (I think). Certainly no noise reduction.

    The colours that I referred to are the moon’s mineral colours. There are many “how to” articles available on the internet. It is this program process methods that are eluding me. Mostly completed using Lightroom, my computer does not have the required specs for that. I can rectify this with a new laptop at some stage.

    The photos attached should have the data available. If not:
    Canon EOS 90D
    Lens Canon EF 400 1:5.6 + Canon 1.4 extender. Offering 560 + crop
    ISO 800
    Shutter 1/800

    Thank you your interest and offer of help,
    Kind regards,
    Journeyman

    In order: Completed photo, camera gear, original photo



    94FE5F0E-8D32-4A6F-9E5D-34E9AB995DE7.jpeg9BAD93F7-87C1-4959-8BE5-B47C439049D0.jpeg9E7DE9FE-4C1D-4ABE-B2A1-626FC928AFB2.jpeg

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    Good day Arthur, I think I have figured out at least part of the problem. The required info is simply not within the images I produce. Photos of Mercury and the moon both show the mineral colours. Nardes beautiful shots show the colours of the moon, books about the planets show the Mercury colours. I don’t think my lens has picked this up as yet. Some more care is required to pick this up. The tripod bit is being addressed.

    I am pretty sure that NASA’s cameras are a level or two above my Canon gear.
    Regards Journeyman

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Yeah, Nardes is the expert in this realm, my experience is very limited when it comes to any astro data.

    But, the very little info I can recall is mostly about the colour of the moon.
    The colour of the moon at night as we see it with our eyes(ie. no filtration) is really yellowish. It looks grey-ish white to us as humans tend to compensate for 'almost white colours' and we tend to see them as white.
    Take a piece of white copy paper and look at it at midday, it looks really white. Look at it again at sunset, and while it looks yellower, our brains know it white copy paper, so our minds tranaslate that and we tend to see it more white than it really should be.
    At sunset it should really be very yellow.

    Camera doesn't interpret colours the way we do. They just take pictures of stuff and you tell it(usually) how to interpret the colour environment for that moment in time, and it does.

    ie. leave the camera to do auto white balance, and it tries to render as white an image as it can .. so the moon ends up looking grey-ish white.
    But think about it for a minute. The only light source(of any note) on the moon at night is the sun. So, theoretically the correct WB value should be daylight.
    Do that tho, and your moon will end up very yellow ... it's more true colour to us than we imagine it to be.
    Reason it's really more yellow in reality is that the atmosphere seems to allow the more of the yellow light through to us, but again we seem to interpret it as more of a whitish colour.

    if your image were shot in raw format, try changing the WB of the original image to daylight .. moon will render yellow.


    I'm guessing that you prefer the more greyish rendering which is what we humans tend to see it as.
    I would suggest that on the raw file, first thing to do is adjust WB, via the "click to whitebalance" feature that your raw editing software more than likely has.
    I don't know Corel and Luminar, but if neither do RAW editing and full featured WB tools(such as click to WB) .. then use Canon's DPP software to edit the raw file.
    The click to WB tool is very usually a dropper tool in the WB adjustment area of the software.

    So, with your moon image: load the raw file in to the software. Before you adjust exposure in any way, first try WB adjustment. Locate the dropper. Some software allow the actual tool to click a single point(ie. in effect a single pixel), or a small average area of various sizes. I'm pretty sure it's not pixel scale, but lets assume it is.
    You can use any pure white, grey or black area to 'click to WB'. In reality this can be hard to actually achieve, but can be got with 'artificial' white/grey/black areas. For your purpose tho lets forget about these artificial versions, and analyse only the naturally occurring colours you have access too.

    1. we know the surface of the moon is actually grey(pretty much neutral) to human eyes. Remember it's the atmosphere that make is look more yellow to us. SO therefore, the moon itself is a good whitebalance reference point.
    it has both white and grey tones to choose from.

    2. the night sky is supposedly quite black. In fact not much else in the universe is quite as black. Probably is other stuff more black, but lets use the night sky as a black reference.

    So you have two points of reference to click to WB in your images... moon itself and so much inky black sky.

    BUT!!!! .. what can(and most likely will) happen is that even with the miniscule elevation in ISO, you still introduce a teeny amount of colour noise in the resultant image. At base ISO, this will be pretty much negligible. But even at the lowly ISO800, it could produce some weirdo-ness in the resultant colour of the moon .. because of the potential to click onto a noisier patch of whatever you click too.

    You can actually use this knowledge to good effect, but no need to get into this in this thread. if you try this click to WB tool, just note that you may strike a strange way off shift in colour you were not expecting. Just keep clicking.

    Because Tycho is usually the most bright feature on the moon .. I tend to use it as my WB reference point. Brighter rendered areas = less noise, or more accurately better signal to noise ratio .. so if you use click to WB, try Tycho first. There could be noise in any of the mid greyer 'Mare' areas to accurately use them as grey reference points.

    The important points to come away from here is that in reality you don't have colours to deal with on straight up moon astro images .. you really deal with shades of grey(or tones) ... so another way to deal with colour issues is to either shoot in monochrome or convert to monochrome ..

    Going by the stated exif data(ISO800 and 1/800s) I'd estimate that the lens was set to f/8 ? if so, stop down one more click, and don't be afraid to try f/11 too. Allow shutter down to 1/400 on a tripod and ISO up to about ISO1600 if need be.
    Obviously I don't have your gear to check those settings, but a bit more contrast(ie. one stop down more) may help.
    Tripod could be fine. Only thing of note I could see as potential issue would be the 'rail' system. Stacking stuff like that could easily induce more vibes than otherwise would.
    If the rails help in some way for shot and you'd refer not to remove them, two methods to help with shutter slap:

    1/. exposure delay. I would guess about 1 sec, maybe 2 sec delay from mirror up to shutter activation.
    2/. Alternatively, hang heavy stuff from tripod, and or place something heav-yish (say 2 kg or so) on the lens at the camera body.

    When I only had my D70s back inthe day and tried to use the 500mm mirror lens to get moon images, it was nigh on impossible to determine if image blur was due to vibes through the tripod or misfocus .. many times.
    I could get a half decent image, bracket shots with varying degrees of focus, and some shots became clearer, and other less clear(sharp).

    I got a 2 kg leadshot bag used to weigh down lighting equipment(just a nylon bag full of lead BBs), and would place it over the camera/lens mating area. Half the shutter/wind blur affected image came back into focus, and now I could focus on getting proper focus! Hard to do in ideal conditions with a really dim lens on a really dim camera(ie. D70s). And it had no exposure delay.
    Having got the D300 all those problems became a distant memory.
    So don't shy away from slightly slower shutter speeds because you think blur may affect the images. It may well in one or two images, but using the features and simple techniques to minimise, still easy to get sharp images.

    Hope that helps.

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    Thanks Arthur, you have given me plenty to work on. I know that my camera settings can do with variation to establish what really works best. It is a watch this space situation I reckon, hopefully I am able upload a good lunar shot in the not too distant future.
    Kind regards, Dennis

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