The Moon and Venus and New Horizons in Post-Processing

Click to see the full image.

March 21st, 2018, 7:25 p.m. local time

Tonight I took advantage of clear (but very cold) skies to photograph the young Moon’s crescent along with Venus (sorry Mercury fans, he was conspicuously absent).  After Sunset these two objects were very far apart, stretching the limit of my wide-field lens.  There was a lot of empty space/sky between them.

This emptiness gave me an idea to try a new type of post-processing, which is today’s image.  I “enhanced” Venus, attempted to add some depth to the sky, and did a small amount of cleanup around the trees.

The result pushes the bounds of true astrophotography and into the realm of something else.  I am still debating my thoughts on this experiment and whether I would want to pursue it in future imaging.

I am already post-processing my star fields to accentuate the brightest stars.  Those pictures are no longer true photography either.  Even my Moon and planetary images are not faithful representations of what the camera sees, but are my attempts to gleam from the camera’s eye stacked or other compounded image data to make something we can recognize and appreciate.

I have found that sitting on an image, revisiting it after a time away, helps me to more objectively judge the end picture.  I will do so here, coming back to it in a week or so, to re-evaluate it again then.

2 thoughts on “The Moon and Venus and New Horizons in Post-Processing

  1. I saw that view last night as I left a NWS Storm Spotter training class. About your post processing issue, I am ok with doing it as long as there is an admission that it has been done. I don’t appreciate it when an image looks processed and the author says nothing about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I fully agree. The truth is that nearly all astrophotography is post-processed, usually quite extensively. But it also feels like there is a boundary between contrast adjustments, histogram movements, and color curve editing, and drawing in or heavily modifying an otherwise complete image.

      Still, I wouldn’t mind this image as my phone’s wallpaper if I adjusted the dimensions a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

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