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Controlling Alnitak!


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As a rainy day excercise I thought I'd try to find a way to get Anitak, Zeta Orionis, under control. It's the bane of all Horsehead-Flame images, of course. I've just learned how to do layer masking and would like to try a short exposure to blend into a long one but the weather is against me this week. Instead I took some old Horsehead data from back in Feb when I had just started imaging and tried the following;

- Opened the RGB fits file in PS using levels and curves, but with a circular marquee snug around Alnitak and a feather of 250 pixels. I had to create this marquee by trial and error but maybe some way can be found to do it scientifically. I selected 'inverse' so as I opened it in levels and curves the feathered area around Anlitak only opened very slowly and the rest of the image burned out. I then selected this area and dropped the rest of the image down to almost nothing. To my surprise the Mag 9.5 companion to Alnitak was right there in the data. Amazing, digital cameras!

The rest was obvious. I did a layer mask composite of the RGB Alnitak area and the original LRGB. I didn't use the LRGB for the bright area because it was far more burned out than just the RGB.

This is a VERY rough attempt but I thought I'd share the technique and see whether you folks think it has any mileage. Or is there a better way?

Olly.

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