Every effort was made in processing
this image to maintain the most natural appearance of the Milkyway
presented here, seen setting over the trees on the western skyline
in the Outback. Centered in this image is Eta Carina, a giant
emission nebulosity complex in a rich star cloud. Above it is
the dark Coal Sack Nebula, a dust cloud blocking the light of
the more distant dim stars of our galaxy. At the top you can
see the two bright colored stars Alpha and Beta Centauri, amongst
the very closest stars to earth.
At the bottom are the
Eucalyptus trees found at the sheep station we stayed at in Winton.
This is an unmodified
Canon 10D, and several unusual steps had to be taken to maintain
image quality. A steep gamma curve was followed by a precise
setting of the sky background to neutral using curves. To keep
it that way, a layer mask was used that was made from the image
itself to saturate the brightest objects above the sky background
and keep the sky neutral. This Photoshop technique is extremely
powerful to enhance deep sky images.
To do this, make a new
adjustment layer and select Hue/Saturation. Alt Click on the
layer mask, and the entire image will show the mask as pure white.
Now paste in over it a black and white image of the object -
black conceals, white reveals. This will become your new extremely
precise layer mask for saturation. Alt click again on the mask
to go back to the normal view. Now increase the saturation as
desired. Only the brightest objects will be affected.
All of the emission
nebula in this image were "Hue shifted", so the blue
heavy magenta color would be the correct hydrogen pink.
Finally, NO grain reduction
was used here. After subtracting the dark made right after the
image, the background is smooth and has low noise. I typically
only use noise reduction only in extreme cases, if there is no