Let’s look at how one of my recent photos was edited. Today I will show you this night shot with star trails, I took few weeks ago in Vienna. So let’s start.

Vienna nightsFinished photo
Vienna nightsOriginal photo

For this photo I took over 200 exposures. First I took two hours worth of 30s shots for the stars. As the Sony a7R does not have an intervalometer in it, what I did was, I set the camera to continuous shooting and locked in the shutter button on the remote. It worked without any issues. For each of these photos, I corrected the lens distortion, chromatic aberations and white ballance in Lightroom.

Vienna nightsExposures for Star trails
Vienna nightsCorrected in Lightroom

I also took 3 additional exposures, each with shorter times, for all the lights in the scene. I did the same corrections in Lightroom on them as for all the other photos.

Vienna nightsExposures for HDR
Vienna nightsCorrected in Lightroom

I exported all as tiff files, and started with creating the star trails. As loading them all at once would probably kill my computer, I loaded them in 20 image stacks, where I only changed all to lighten blend mode and flattened them into one layer. While doing that, I also masked out few parts from the right, as there was the setting moon and it created a little glow.

From there I blended in the darker exposures to correct the few lights and removed the few people that were in the shot. To get the final look, I corrected out the fisheye distortion, added Color efex detail extractor and Pro contrast to make the stars more visible. I finished the edit with more saturation in the blue, and overall contrast.

Vienna nightsBlended star trails
Vienna nightsFinished photo

And that’s all I did with this image. To find out more on how I edit, check out the guides and before after categories on this blog, or check out my video tutorial series here:
Master exposure blending