The APOD Image - 12:38AM Dec 14th, 2017

That's the time that my camera read when this image was taken, 12:38AM on December 14th. My camera would fire off 435 more 10 second exposures and catch over 30 more meteors before I finally head back over to retrieve it. 

The APOD image was shot with the setup from Camera 1 mentioned on the previous page.

Sony A7RII - Sigma 14mm f1.8 ART - 10 sec | ISO 3200 | f1.8

It wasn't until writing this post that I realized there was less than a 12 hour window between the time this image was taken and the time it had reached NASA. Less than 48 hours after that it would be shared with the world as the Astronomy Picture of the Day.

For Part 2 of this post, I thought I would take a look the other half of my tools that helped make that possible.

Gear II - Post Processing Essentials

Most photographers are familiar with the term shooting RAW, but in case you aren't the term RAW refers to a file type that the camera records an image in. It's a very flat file that captures a wide range of data and is intended to be further edited without losing quality. Settings in your camera, such as White Balance, will impact how the RAW file looks right out of your camera, but this is still something you have complete control over when processing your image. 

When it comes to this portion of prepping an image the tools you trust are just as important as when taking the image. A good edit may not save a bad image, but a bad edit can certainly ruin a good image. Similarly, if what you're using to edit isn't up to the task, it leaves a huge portion of how the world will see your image up to chance. For example, if the monitor you're editing isn't properly displaying colors or is entirely too bright, what you see on your screen will look nothing like what everyone else sees. Blues become purple and the perfect brightness becomes way too dark while you're left scratching your head wondering why no one is responding to your image. With that said, here's what I used to go from RAW file to APOD.

Dell XPS 15 9560 - I've been using my XPS for a while now and have still been completely in love with working on it. Being able to go through my entire workflow and produce an image on the road that ultimately gets featured by NASA is a pretty nice validation, too! 
Adobe Lightroom - LR is normally my first stop for importing and managing my images. It's a nice way to go through a give a star rating to images I want to give a closer look to later on. For timelapse work, I'll often apply batch edits in lightroom and then export to create the sequences.

Adobe Photoshop - As you can see below, there really wasn't an extensive amount of editing done to this image. My main concern was correcting the color a bit and adjusting the overall brightness of the image. Which, as I mentioned earlier, are two very temperamental factors when it comes to the display you're using and why editing on most laptops is advised against. Score another point for the XPS!


Before and After

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So, there it is!  While this certainly gives a pretty good look from field to finish, each one of these mini-sections could have received a full post. I really enjoyed sharing all of this, so I might just have to start working on something like that soon! 

Keep an eye out for more from the beautiful dark sky parks of Alberta soon! Jeff and I will be heading up to Wood Buffalo National Park, Lac La  Biche, and Elk Island in January!

You can follow along over on Instagram

Bonus Star Trails! 

Here's what all 480 images from Lake Edith look like stacked on top of each other! You can still see the bright fireball pretty easily, but there are over 30 other meteors in there, too! 

Thanks again everyone!

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