While idly flicking through my photos, looking for inspiration, I came across an older photo I took which had me leaning out of my kitchen window. It was of the sun setting in the west after a long day of spewing photons at the Earth.Now I don't normally practice the art of Pareidolia but this time I did think the cloud in the foreground resembled a screaming face. I took the shot and filed it away in Lightroom under Weather\Clouds.
I did not use a star filter for this, I simply set my aperture to f22 and took the shot, the sun should spike like that every time. There was enough light coming in to achieve 1/50th of a second at 100 iso.
This was mono-chromed with a light blue tint and more sun rays were added but I thought that the sky lacked detail in a big way so I hunted down a few more photos that I thought would fit the bill.
This one did! Lots of detail in the sky and was a sunrise from the east.
I thought these two could easily mash together and produce a better picture combined. The aspect ratio was way off on the second photo so I decided to keep the originals, this would allow me a little room to move the second around behind it.
The first thing I wanted was to add some stars to the top of the photo. I created a new layer and used the noise filter to create points of light, far to many on a standard filter so I used a Levels adjustment layer to drag the black slider up till there were a lot fewer points of light.
I then added a mask and erased the parts around the clouds and the lower half of the frame. The layer was blended using Screen to take out anything black, leaving just the points of light.
Next I added the sunrise photo, adjusted the position and added a gradient mask to filter out some of the top to allow the stars to shine through. This layer was set to Overlay/100% opacity with a Levels adjustment added to darken the whole thing up.
Once this was completed I posted it first class mail back to Lightroom to add the finishing touches.
Clarity and sharpening were added along with a shadow adjustment brush to bring out the main cloud a little.