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Moon Photography - Editing Your Moon Photos

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Once you have a good moon photo, you'll need to develop that photo.  If you use a digital camera that means working with Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro, GIMP, or another digital editing program.  Whatever software you use, there are two basic steps to cleaning up most digital moon photography.

1. Clean Up the Exposure

Just like photographers adjusted exposure in traditional darkrooms, most photographers adjust exposure digitally as part of the developing process.  Adjusting levels on your moon picture will allow you to darken blacks and generally fine tune the exposure/contrast of your image.  This will help with the sky and the detail on the moon surface.  Be careful not to overadjust levels as you will get blow out highlights or digital artifacts within the black areas.

2. Sharpen if Needed

Often we'd like our moon pictures a bit more crisp and sharp than they turn out straight from the camera.  There are many reasons a moon picture might not be tack sharp.  Camera shake, low lens quality, atmospheric interference, and improper focus are just some of the possible reasons.  Whatever the reason, if the image is only slightly less sharp than you'd like there is an easy way to sharpen the image.  For moon pictures, avoid using the unsharp mask or sharpen tool because the resulting color noise is highly visible with moon pictures.  Instead, use a desaturated duplicate layer and the high pass tool to create an overlay of detail.

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