Jackson Lake State Park Tracked Milky Way

How about an “extended” play raw with a tracked Milky Way shot and a foreground you have to blend? This was taken on June 18th at Jackson Lake State Park in Colorado. This place is dark sky certified by DarkSky International (formally International DarkSky Association). Despite the light pollution coming from neighboring towns in southwest, the town just south of this spot is sporting proper lighting, which is why it didn’t affect the 4 minute tracked sky shot too much.

Here’s my initial take. I processed the raw images in darktable and blended/final touches in Gimp. I’ve included the mask I used which I exported from foreground image (exposure 2). The mask isn’t the best, but it worked great regardless.

This is using a hydrogen-alpha modified camera. You may want to use these settings for legacy whiteblance module in DT. This was calibrated using the chart checker using AP’s tutorial. Just the wb settings provides a decent starting reference. Feel free to grab the channel mixer settings from color calibration too.


P1012110.RW2.xmp (28.5 KB)
P1012110.RW2 (34.2 MB)
Foreground Mask (1.9 MB)

P1012115.RW2.xmp (22.9 KB)
P1012115.RW2 (34.4 MB)

Raw files are licensed by Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Share-Alike, Non-commercial .


a try with RT+Gimp, nice photos, pity that I have little time!


My process in DT 4.4.0 + Gimp:
P1012115.RW2.xmp (20.1 KB)
P1012110.RW2.xmp (20.1 KB)
Milkyway.tif.xmp (11.5 KB)


Hello, I wood like to know how you get a mask like the one you made.

Not a problem. So the first step is create a mask within DT. I love its masking capabilities with drawn & parametric masks. @s7habo has some great videos on masking if you need help creating them.

Second on the export is enable store masks. This is only works for a couple export formats like tiff, xcf and openexr. As a warning at least for tiff files only the first 4 modules with masks are included in the export.

Then within Gimp you can open that exported file as layers selecting the main image and mask(s) you want. For the provided mask I just opened the mask and re-exported it to keep it small in size.

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Thank you very much!

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With RT, I first did some basic adjustment, exported in tif, merged in GIMP and then finished the edit in RT :

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There are some errors that I didn’t fix in the sky-ground transition specially… Done using Gimp+ PyGapM27


thanks for these images! they were fun to work with:


vkdt only, used a sloppy hand-drawn mask instead of the supplied one:


The animated sky is a great touch! I’ve been meaning to give vkdt a try. Now might be the time to do so. Thanks again for edit. It’s fun seeing how others attempt the Milky Way.