Multi-row Milky Way Panorama - Shooting Workflow

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
OP indigoshrine Forum Member • Posts: 74
Re: Multi-row Milky Way Panorama - Shooting Workflow

CatchingTime wrote:

I think to get much more color in Rho you'd need to use a longer lens, but optimal post-processing is critical for revealing subtle color details, as I'm sure you know.

I appreciate the feedback. Regarding focal length, while longer will help I have seen enough examples with plenty of color @50mm, so I am convinced the lens is fine. Post-processing is definitely the biggest field for improvement right now.

I've been shooting untracked night panos for years now, and I guess my question would be why you'd want to start your journey using the absolutely most complex process possible? More than decent results can be had without a tracker (esp. with truly good astro lenses like the Art 40), and it would allow you to learn the process of gathering the pano rows in an efficient and effective manner. It is a complex process, and there are so many potentially confounding factors that can play into it, as you found with the cold.

Last year when I made the jump from single-shot untracked to single-shot tracked, the increase in quality and detail was mind-blowing. If possible I want to stick to tracking, regardless of pano or non-pano. But you make me consider slipping in a non-tracked pano every now and then, and if it is even just for training.

Wind. Dust. Clouds. Flashlights in your foreground. Equipment. Being able to see (preserve your night vision!). Etc.

In regard to your mosaic planning example, one thing that no one mentioned is to try not to include, say, the tip of a mountain at the very bottom of a row (as your example shows). Try to have your lowest sky row (barely) include the lowest feature of the foreground, and try to have your (highest) foreground row (barely) include the highest land feature. If you can't because you need more view of the foreground, shoot two rows of the foreground, and consider making your higher one level (which gives an accurate representation of the features of the horizon, makes stitching easier, etc.).

That's a good point I haven't heard yet. Will definitely pay attention to this more.

It's these kinds of small things that you learn though doing, and, at least to me, adding the tracker into the equation while you are learning your capture process (geometrically speaking) could prove to be a confounding factor to progressing, and especially to actually capturing something usable. One error anywhere in the process can obviate an hour or more's work capturing your vision, and with how few days you have, might leave you with very little at the end of this MW season. The difference you'll get between using a tracker and not using one almost surely won't be visible here, nor will it likely be to casual observers of even medium-sized prints.

I will give it a try without, obviously the difference for panos will be smaller than for single shots. But I still think long term tracking will be far more used than non-tracking.

Last comment re: your result, I find that taking the black point so low leaves a sky looking a way that I rarely see it, e.g. darker than it actually looked. For processing true astro images using longer lenses it's necessary, but for wide-field nightscapes I think it makes the sky look too black, especially in the southern Milky Way, where it only very locally dark. Everyone's mileage varies, though...

Yes, I noticed this after posting and comparing to a couple of images from seasoned astrophotographers. It is too dark in general and the black point is too aggressively set. Still struggling a lot with proper gradient reduction and subsequent levels and curve settings ...

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