Bulk layer edits with GIMP

If you are already familiar with shooting the stars, then you’ll know that most of the imaging magic happens in post processing. You’ll also likely know that the vast majority of popular online tutorials will use Adobe Photoshop which is both expensive and subscription only, with monthly photography plans starting from $14.29AUD upwards. Being neither popular nor prepared to spend that sort of cash on subscription based software, I find myself free to explore the alternatives. As far as open source software goes, Gnu Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is enormously powerful and supports layers which is critical for common processing tasks such as star trails and light painting. Unfortunately though, GIMP has no functionality via the GUI as of the time of writing this article which allows you to modify layer attributes in bulk or as a selection of layers. In this article we’ll take a look at one way in which the extensibility of GIMP can assist with this specific issue.

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Lighting the path

Spent the Christmas 2019 break on the south coast of Victoria and took the opportunity to shoot the local light house. Coastline here is pretty rugged with plenty of loose rocks, dips and crevasses to really do a number on your ankle. Then there is always the very heavy surf and tide to be thinking of. Really just highlighted for me the importance of scouting your intended location for shooting astro in the daylight hours so you can get the lay of the land to plan your compositions safely.

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Shooting in the dark

Went out on my first real shoot for 2020 last night. My wife was the one who suggested it, as unnoticed by me, the sky had cleared progressively during the evening. The Clear Outside app was showing zero cloud cover though to almost sunrise, I finally snapped out of it and started thinking of what I could shoot. I had just gotten warranty replacements (that is another topic) for a new 80cm motorised slider and a MSM rotator and was keen to give them a go. To give some context, the Australian night skies have been seriously tainted by the smoke coming from the unprecedented brushfires we’ve experienced since Spring, so going out shooting hasn’t exactly been at the forefront of my mind. Never the less this story quickly diverts into a series of setbacks that had me waste a huge amount of time.

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