Constellation - Orion (First Attempt)

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This was my first attempt at photographing a constellation. After focusing my camera on Orion, and determining the maximum exposure time I could do without seeing star trails, I set up my camera with my computer and had it take a series of 4-second exposures.

Post-processing was a pain. Aligning the images in PhotoShop was alright and fairly easy, and then I got rid of the background sky greenish glow. I then over-saturated the blues, yellows, and reds so that the main stars showed up better. But they were still tiny points of light.

So what I did then was fake the glow. After rotating and cropping the image, I used PhotoShop's "Blur" tool at various opacities/pressures to draw out the stars' glow to add the fake diffraction spikes. I think it looks cool, though I do have the original if anyone wants it.

I've been told that the way the photographer who gets those gorgeous contellation images with the large, glowing main stars, etc., actually takes a deep exposure, and then he takes a shorter exposure but first coats the lens in a gel in order to spread the light out. Cheater!!

Image Date January 20 , 2006
Exposure Length 136 seconds total; 4 seconds each
Number of Images 34 stacked in Adobe PhotoShop using Screen layer mode
Camera Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT
Lens Length ~45 mm