Milky Way Live Event Replay?

I am so sorry!  This was supposed to be live.  I started prepping the webinar room at 1:30 thinking I had plenty of time.  However, my computer needed to reboot and then miraculously got caught in a one-hour reboot loop.   Words cannot describe how bad I feel right now.  I can’t apologize enough.

Let’s look at the bright side though.  I recorded exactly what I was going to teach, but I did it with high res video, much better audio quality, no webinar connection hiccups and you can see my cursor effects 🙂

In this recorded event, I am going to show you how I extract the gassy Milky Way center of my images with Adobe Camera Raw and the Zone System Express.  This may be like drinking from a fire hose, it is CHOCK full of information!  Enjoy!

Download the Practice Raw File


  1. Great tutorials, Blake. As soon as Adobe added the new features to ACR/Lightroom I thought of the editing process with night sky/Milky Way and then saw you were scheduling this webinar so I’ve waited until I could watch this to see your tips before I started experimenting. This was really helpful. The beauty of the ZSE4, as with most things in Photoshop, is the power of selections, and now that Adobe has added some of the masking fine tuning in ACR/Lightroom, we can bring in a better adjusted RAW file so the selection process is more effective in the ZSE4, which is key to making the finishing touches.

    I noticed an announcement for the Out of Chicago/Moab trip next fall, but when I went there it was already sold out. Too bad. Must have filled up the first day, I expect. It looks awesome and I’m thrilled you will be leading part of that.

    I’ll plan to be out there over the winter/spring when the center begins to get up above the horizon again. There’s a meteor shower coming December 13, by the way.

    • Oh wow! Sold out already, phew! That was quick!

      I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new masking features in ACR for those exact reasons. The Raw file prep is so much cleaner now when we bring it into the ZSE4.

      We need to meet up again and shoot around KC. Maybe after the first good snow?

  2. Thanks Blake- very enjoyable. I haven’t photographed the Milky Way before but I learnt quite a bit from your editing and shooting techniques. I have a few questions for you. You mentioned that you normally adjust the ISO (or aperture) as opposed to shutter speed if the photo is too dark or light. Do you use the histogram in order to determine that the exposure is incorrect or just use the viewfinder/screen. It seems that the histogram wouldn’t work that well because it is so dark out and there wouldn’t be much light. I’m just curious to how you figure out the correct exposure.

    Another question is whether you have noticed the “star eater” issue with the Sony camera. Lastly do you turn on any of the the noise reduction settings in the camera when shooting at high ISO’s or long exposures. Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Thanks, Marsha! I didn’t notice any eaten stars, lol. There are millions in the photo. If one was eaten then the camera left some crumbs 🙂

      As for the Histogram, I don’t use it, I go by the visual display. The histogram is just going to read dark, dark and darker, lol. Even after expanding the range of the photo after ACR, the Milky Way is still the brightest point per the map, and that is only the middle gray’s! Incredible. I just eyeball judge it.

  3. Blake, one comment about your Moab photo. The green color cast is probably caused by what is known as “air glow”, a naturally occurring atmospheric condition. I first encountered it several years ago in SE Oregon’s Steens Mountains (still the darkest location I have ever shot in). Thinking it was possibly some camera induced problem I went to great lengths to remove it. Now that I know what it is I tend to leave it as-is, or at the most just decrease it’s intensity. But if you don’t like it there is nothing wrong with removing it either.

    Great video, enjoyed it.

    • Awesome! That explains a LOT! Thank you very much for the explanation. I think I will leave it now, I kinda like it 🙂

  4. Boy oh boy do I have a lot to learn! Thanks Blake. I will be going through this tutorial many times with the photo you gave us.

    • 🙂 Awesome! Glad I could help!

  5. Don’t be so sorry Blake… I like the positive eye you put on this !

    And, I learn a lot again. Just seeing you Woking is a way to learn.

    So, tank you !

    • Sweet! I tend to be pretty hard on myself. I have high expectations, maybe that’s why I have no employees 🙂 haha

  6. Awesome Blake. Thanks so much for the replay:)

    • It is my pleasure, thanks for watching it!


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