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IC434 - The Horse Head

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Hi all!

Here is an image of the Horse Head I shot yesterday evening. I am not completely satisfied with it because it lacks red signal I think. Maybe this is because my Canon 300D DSLR is not modified and cuts this colour too much...? I shot 12 10-minute images.


Critics and comments welcome of course :-)



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Thank you for the nice comments.

Mark, I have a Vixen GP-DX mount with the SkySensor 2000 system. This setup is controlled using GuideMaster and a small refractor mounted in parallel to my Newton imaging scope.

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Hi Chris ,you have produced a lovely image there ,complete contrast to what we normally have , ok yes i can see why you are not 100% happy with the red emission you would have bought out the backdrop a lot more, but the thing with this image , it has quality processing ,beautifully done ,

Congrates on that


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Chris, I love your images because of their understated appearance, they are very different from the usual versions of these objects and you are to be commended on your processing of them especially as you are using an unmodified camera on objects that normally require high Ha sensitivity!

I hope you don't mind but I couldn't resist trying a new processing technique I am experimenting with on your image so despite the fact that I really do like the understated version you have posted, here is one with 'the treatment'!:-


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Chris, That image has left me with a jaw dropped look on my face. It's so beautiful,

and even though it differs from the usual coloured renditions of this area, I really love it.

Steve's "treatment " has given it the text book look for want of a better description.

Both images have an exceptional appearance.

Ron. :D

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Hi Chris,

The enhanced blue was a by-product of diminishing the yellow/brown caste that was produced by the saturation that I added after I had isolated the red nebulosity area that backdrops the horsehead itself but I would agree that it is probably a little over-bright!

The PhotoShop workflow for this was as follows:-

1. Make a duplicate layer of the image and de-saturate it then de-select it from view

2. Working on the original RGB layer, select 'Replace Colour' and pipette the 'ridge' of nebulosity running behind the HH and adjust the fuzziness until the curtain of nebulosity was included and then adjust the Hue until I got a suitable red.

3. Carry out a series of incremental saturation increases

4. This produced some unwelcome yellow/brown colour caste so I used 'colour balance' to reduce the yellow but this increased the blue but I was not too worried about that as 'Alnitak' is a blue star and often has a bluish tinge to the glow around it.

5. Finally I re-selected the desaturated layer and applied a 'luminosity blend'

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Nicely done Chris :D

Top notch tracking you have there too.

I like the look of it....many images one sees in magazines etc are to my taste oversaturated, yours is a little low on the red side 'cos of your unmodded cam but to my mind, much better than being overdone and garish!



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