The making of Milky Way, Aurora
... and on with the show
The first order of business was to find a crop that I liked. 3 photo stitches from a 17mm TS will give you a 4x5 ratio. Sometimes I simply go with it, sometimes I don't, it all depends on the image. In this particular case I knew the image would benefit from a longer vertical because it had lines travelling from top to bottom, so I went with a 5x7.
The 2nd step was to clone out the lights. I left the light pollution that was spilling in from behind the mountain, but the highway ones had to go.
At this point I started moving the image towards what I had in my mind's eye. The Northern Lights that I witnessed were cool, with accents of red. What the camera captured was a different thing altogether. I opened Viveza and cooled down the entire image. I painted back the reds from the original image since the cooling down had some effect on them too.
In ACR I opened the lights quite a bit in order to get some life back into the image, and then added clarity to help the Aurora and the stars stand out.
A bit of dodge and burn on a b/d layer brought back the Milky Way and the shooting star. The sky was pretty much done now.
For the foreground I spent some time dodging (this time in LAB so I can have better control on what gets touched) the wisps of water on and around the rocks. I finished up with saturation and mid-tones contrast.
Keywords: Aurora Borealis, Lofoten, Milky Way, Northern Lights, Norway, Shooting Star, landscape, nightscape, post processing, waves
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