Summer Milky Way over Vosges, Northern France.
The glow from the bottom left is Strassbourg's light pollution. A question I often answer is: "Do you see this with your own eyes?" Well, try to think of a digital camera as a small telescope. With its large aperture and immense light amplification, we could only dream of seeing this with our naked eyes. I'm not even mentioning the lengthy shutter speed. But even with a good camera body and a stellar (pardon the pun) lens, these images would not work without a good amount of post-processing. This all begins with correcting the RAW image. I can't underline this enough: Each and every digital photograph should be captured in RAW format - likewise, it should be RAW converted. Not doing so would be akin to scanning a negative and throwing it on the web. Nightscape photography (which effectively combines astrophotography and landscape photography) has a little more to it than that. An picture taken at an ISO well over 1600 should be handled with care. Noise reduction during RAW conversion separates the noise from the signal and helps you extract detail from an image without putting too much noise in there. Also, foreground and background should be processed differently at first, but merged halfway during the process in order to get a consistent white balance. So, to wrap up this introduction to an otherwise detailed e-book I'm starting to write here, a night sky this colourful can only be seen from space. (Even pictures photographed by Hubble are 'Photoshopped', you know!)
'Celestial Tapestry' was captured facing south on the Schneeberg, Vosges, France. With the D600 at 14mm. 30s | f/2.8 | ISO5000