Following a comment on my previous post, “Getting started with night photography,” I was inspired to try out Deep Sky Stacker, a popular application for astrophotography. I’ve avoided using DSS for two reasons: First, I have a Mac, but DSS is for Windows. That issue is resolved by using the Wineskin procedure described by Tom Goetz. Second, most of my night photography is very wide-angle (hence I resist calling it “astrophotography,” and I usually try to include landscape features in my photos. I’m not sure if DSS is really appropriate for that type of image, but I thought I’d give it a whirl anyway.
The comparative results are shown in the gallery below. I stacked eight frames from my previous image, “Galactic center above lighthouse.” I thought that image was pretty awesome when I posted it, but evidently I can produce a much better product from the frames I have. The DSS stacked images look better, but at present I can’t explain why, since I haven’t studied the DSS manual very closely. Unfortunately the DSS processing took several hours, so I probably won’t be using it on a daily basis.
Each of these photos has something that I think is missing in the others. Overall, I really like to range of color and sharpness that emerge from the DSS processing.