NightScape photography brings out the worst in lens vignetting because one is often forced to shoot wide open. This maximum light is needed to reduce shutter times (keeping star trailing to a minimum), and to lower ISO settings (keep down digital noise), which are already unusually high.
Adobe Camera Raw to the rescue. ACR's "Lens Corrections" feature can virtually eliminate lens vignetting problems. If you are using a major brand lens with electronic coupling to your camera body ACR will automatically pull up your lens' profile (using the image file's EXIF info) and make the needed vignetting corrections (and distortion corrections) when you check the "Enable Lens Profile Corrections" box! You can control the amount of these corrections using sliders. I typically allow the profile to make a full, 100% correction.
Using ACR is one of many reasons to shoot in camera RAW. ARC is available with both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.
Editor's Note: So many photographers ignore lens vignetting in astro-landscape photography, that the "darkened corner look" in starry night sky photos has become the norm. Besides, many would argue, "it adds a certain amount of drama and mystique" to the image (similar the the artificial vignetting photographers often add to a portrait, in order to draw more viewer attention to the person, and less to the background). Unfortunately, lens vignetting gives the viewer an unnatural look of the night sky, and eliminates a lot of valuable detail (stars and shadow detail in the landscape foreground). With proper lens vignetting correction, these details can be restored —then, if the photographer chooses, he/she can darken ("burn down") the areas he/she wants to add drama (or use to guide our attention), and still retain detail.
|No lens vignetting correction on left image - ACR's "Lens Corrections" to right image|
"Milky Way Paint Brush" - Kodachrome Basin State Park ~ © Royce Bair
|By checking the "Enable Lens Profile Corrections", ARC's "Lens Corrections"|
feature automatically applies vignetting and distortion corrections to your
Canon, Nikon and other major brand lenses. Note the change to the histogram.
Royce's 2014 Workshop, Lecture & Video Conference Schedule: NightScapeEvents.com
- 25% OFF savings on select "IMAGE10" workshops booked before April 1, 2014 -