What on earth is terrestroastrophotography?

Terrestroastropho... whaaa? No, it's not really a thing, it'd be more like astroterrestrial photography. It's that branch of astrophotography where you use some terrestrial feature in the foreground and stars in the background.

Being a nebula guy, I'm no expert at this, I assure you. This is pretty rough, but it'll get you started with some ideas.

This was back in January 2017, and we were down at Sorrento with the family. It was a pleasant time, pre-Covid. On one of the evenings, my daughter and I went down to Diamond Bay to get some shots.

We were looking North a half hour before midnight. You can tell that from the stars.

This is a single 30s exposure, f/3.5 at ISO 3200. I had a Pentax fish-eye lens, which I don't like much. You can see horrible chromatic aberration if you look closely at the brighter stars.

I used no tracking, just a tripod. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. In fact, if you really want to go basic, you don't need the tripod, just prop your camera up with some rocks.

Some people take separate images for foreground and background, and there are advantages in this, such as foreground focus as well as background stacking. You can see the unprocessed original to the right.

Back home, I processed it in Photoshop (or you can use GIMP for free). I've un-distorted the image slightly, and rotated it a little to make it look more natural.

I split the image into foreground and background so I could process them separately. I feathered the edges between the two layers to make it hard to tell where the cut is.

For the foreground, I lightened the darkness using the levels tool. I brutally shoved the midpoint of the histogram to the left, and nothing more. Doing something as violent as this made the heavily lightened ground look very noisy and grainy. To counter this, I added a Gaussian blur rather than trying to reduce the noise.

For the background, I had a lot of light pollution to cope with, as we were looking straight at Melbourne. I pushed the saturation to the max, which allowed me to adjust the colour balance before decreasing the saturation to a realistic level. Then I added some vibrance. I found that I didn't need to play around much with the levels. I didn't do anything about the chromatic aberration.

That's it. Go and try it yourself. All you need is a camera and a lens.