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Stacking Demo

The next logical step after embracing digital photography is to learn about the digital darkroom. By all accounts, and I am beginning to believe this, professional photographers spend more time fiddling with software than they ever did in a darkroom, but consider the time worth it because the creative options are numerous.

One technique I am working on is imported from astrophotography, but I am applying it to landscapes. I do not pretend to understand the math. If you want to, these developers have an excellent website and an excellent freeware product called Registax. It uses a algorithm called wavelets to combine multiple images and selectively pull out several different kinds of detail. An example is found below.

The left image is the best of the twelve that were stacked together. The right image is the result. In it the south polar cap is visible as well as two of the central valleys.


My original work with this programs was to see if I could improve terrestrial photographs like landscapes and night shots. I told Steve about the project and he offered to see if he could do as well with a program called NeatImage. He was right. In night shots with lots of sensor-induced noise he did nearly as well as I did with the more elaborate stacking technique. But, when I combined the steps, whoa, baby! Below is another demo. The small pictures are a small portion of the original. (Click to see the full-sized picture.)

This is the original shot. Notice the overall grainyness and noise in the blinds.

This is the same shot processed by Neat Image. The major difference is visible on the bright corner. There is much less noise, but also less detail with softer edges.

This is the set of filtered images stacked. All the detail is back and more.  The colors look better as well.