Long Exposure images and HDR processing, not a fun combo, but there is hope!  One of the most powerful slider bars in Photomatix Pro is the Luminosity slider.  It plays a powerful role in the effects of HDR tonemapping during post processing, but how does it effect a long exposure image after the sun has set and the night sky is pitch black?

In this images case, with the slider bars at their most ideal setting, the Luminosity slider is bringing out some massive noise in the sky.  When I got to this point with the post processing of this particular image I was on the verge of giving up.  I could pull it into Photoshop and fix the sky but something was telling me, “Give up!  It isn’t meant to be HDR’ed!!!”.  However, I am a stubborn beast.  Let’s try pulling the Luminosity slider down.

Well that helps with the noise, but how the hell can I bring some light back into the picture….

  • Less Black Point? NO
  • More White Point? NO
  • ah… Highlight Smoothness?  NO
  • Gamma…. No Gamma is never a help… Gamma makes things gross… Let’s try Gamma anyway….
  • Gamma worked, really, Gamma huh?

Well that is something I can work with!  Gamma, write that one down, it helps in a pinch in your night shots.  Wait Blake, did you really just say write that down? Who does that?  How about you just look at my Niagara Nights Preset.  Give it a shot or at least use it as a baseline for your future night shots!

Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer, he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it's all about the art and process synergy. He dives deep into complex topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside-the-box thinking so that you can use these tricks in your workflow today!
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