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Blobby stars

This photoshop tutorial shows how to correct out of focus stars.

northern lights

iceland aurora


Night photography often involves a compromise, often the compromise is depth of field because large apertures (such as f/2.8) are commonly used to capture stars before they begin to trail. This means that the focus can be on the foreground, or the stars and the DOF is unlikely to include both, even with a large focal length. The two subjects are too different in their distance from the camera, so having reasonable sharpness on this foreground ice meant that the stars were blobs.

If you have a shot where the stars are just out of focus blobs of light, don’t despair! This easy fix will suffice for a web image and with some extra work, might work for a large print.

Photoshop Technique

I duplicate the layer and set the blend mode to darken. I then use the move tool to nudge the top layer. The smallest increments can be applied with the cursor keys and the amount of movement is determined by how much you are zoomed into the image. The smallest increment is 1 pixel. It might be necessary to repeat the process with different nudge directions for different parts of the sky.

Shot to nothing

One thing I am sure of though is that despite the low visibility, the arctic circle must be in this photograph.

Jokulsarlon Night panorama

Northern lights can add an extra dimension to night photography because they add strong colours and depth to the sky.

Aurora Wash

This Northern Lights shot was blessed with a superb wash of ocean during the exposure.

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