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Art and Craft

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#1 Madratter


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Posted 24 January 2021 - 09:02 AM

I am all for people developing a style when it comes to astrophotography. Certainly I have been talking about it here for almost as long as I have been a member.


But part and part of developing style is learning the craft. There are reasons why things are normally done a particular way and why best practices are exactly that. To put it another way, if you desire to color outside the lines, that is fine, but learn how to color inside the lines.


Jackson Pollock is well known for his drip technique and his abstract art. What is perhaps less well known is that he was an accomplished painter who was capable of (and did) more traditional art. Picasso didn't start off as a Cubist. He was a very accomplished traditional painter first.


The reason for this is that learning "standard" technique and craft is a key to unlocking understanding and further learning, that eventually allow you to bust out of the norm and do things differently. You will eventually be able to better realize your vision of how to showcase your astrophotography, if you have a full tool chest of technique and the understanding that goes with it.


This is the beginning Deep Sky Imaging Forum. As such, there should be a focus on the underlying craft that makes the eventual art possible.


What I am not saying: I'm not saying that experimentation is off the table. I'm all for experimentation. It is a tremendous tool for learning.

What I am saying: Learn your craft and learn it well. That will enable you to present your astrophotography the way you eventually want, not hindered by your lack of technique.


Don't hinder yourself now by taking shortcuts that hide your astrophotography's shortcomings. That just hinders long-term learning.

Edited by Madratter, 24 January 2021 - 09:58 AM.

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#2 Huangdi



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Posted 24 January 2021 - 09:42 AM

Very well said Madratter, I couldn't agree more. Even more so because we live in an age where processing images is easier than ever.

Especially skipping the linear phase in processing has become somewhat of a trend I've seen again and again, which in my eyes is the most important step in processing astronomical images.
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#3 Astrola72



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Posted 24 January 2021 - 09:56 AM

Well said, MR. Spot on.



#4 imtl



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Posted 24 January 2021 - 10:22 AM

Following up on this and being even more focused. If we only discuss image processing for now, then CALIBRATE your lights would be the first thing to conclude from what Madratter wrote.

#5 Madratter


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Posted 25 January 2021 - 11:08 AM

I thought it might be instructive for some to show a clear example of style.




Some astrophotographers try (and try very hard) to go with a style that is 100% craft. They intentionally try to take all art out of the image and leave only science. On the other hand, some of us like the science side, but also leave room for individual expression.


The image above is an example of where I have a clear style. In this case it is because I use the Ha channel not only to get narrowband emissions, but also as my regular red channel for stars. I do the color balancing with PCC, which corrects things so that the star colors are accurate (in the sense that a known and defensible process was used to get them). This is a technique I developed without reading about others doing it. (Although I'm sure there are others that do). Another place where you can see I have a clear style is when you examine the yellow stars in my images. Because of the filters I use, and the color balancing techniques I employ, I get a more sunny yellow color out of my stars than the oranges that are more common.


Over time, most imagers will develop a style either intentionally or unintentionally. Are there images dark and moody? Or are they bright and highly saturated? Do they like large widefield views or do they tend to zoom in on detail?


A favorite son of this forum, Goofi, used to love a color palette that included greens for narrowband.


With time, you will develop a style. Some of those will not be particularly recognizable. Others will bear a clear stamp of the imager who created it.

Edited by Madratter, 25 January 2021 - 11:09 AM.

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