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Digital Camera World - - SHOOT THE STARS -

While you can get good re­sults from a sin­gle ex­po­sure, you can re­veal even more de­tail by com­bin­ing four or five ex­po­sures. Then you can man­u­ally com­bine them as dif­fer­ent lay­ers in Pho­to­shop.

The stars will have moved over the course of th­ese ex­po­sures, so you will have to care­fully align the images so that stars line up. Now halve the Opac­ity of each layer com­pared with the layer be­low it. So on the first layer above the back­ground, set Opac­ity to 50%, 25% on the layer above, 12% on the next, and so on.

If your shots in­clude any fore­ground or land, th­ese ar­eas will now be mis-aligned. So you will need to add a mask to each layer, and care­fully paint over the ar­eas of the mask us­ing a black brush where th­ese ar­eas ap­pear in the top lay­ers. Then only the land­scape in the back­ground layer is vis­i­ble. As a fin­ish­ing touch, com­bine it with an im­age where you set the ex­po­sure for the land­scape or fore­ground. Add this as a layer on the top of the layer stack, add a mask and care­fully paint out the ar­eas of sky us­ing a black brush.

Above Wave a large torch across a fore­ground ob­ject to make it stand out in your starscape shot.

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