Using Photoshop to create natural landscape photos that include the moon
When photographing landscapes at twilight that include the moon, proper exposure can be nearly impossible to achieve. That’s because while the dim light of twilight requires a relatively long exposure, the moon requires nearly a sunny-16 exposure. As a result, there is no one camera exposure setting that will get the scene right. Your options are:
Under-expose the scene and recover shadows & highlights in post
Properly expose for the landscape and blow out the moon
Bracket exposures and combine them in post
All of the above options have drawbacks. In an under-exposed image, you’ll be prone to getting noise when you try to recover shadow details, and you may or may not be able to recover detail in the moon. If the moon is very small in the frame (as with wide-angle lenses), you can make the conscious choice to just allow it to blow out completely. Bracketing exposures is another option, but I’ve found that traditional exposure blending or HDR tone-mapping just doesn’t quite produce the results I’d like, because the blown-out areas around the moon often bleed into the sky or are exacerbated by thin clouds.
Recently while I was in the field, I decided to try a variation on exposure blending. I captured two shots: the first was exposed only for the moon, and the second shot was properly exposed for the landscape. I then used Adobe Photoshop to combine the images, but instead of just blending them (as with a traditional composite), I had to completely remove the blown-out moon from the landscape photo using Photoshop’s Content-Aware Fill tool.
Video: Processing Landscape Photos with the Moon (Photoshop)
Updating the firmware on a Nikon Z mirrorless camera is fairly straightforward. To do so, you’ll need:
A formatted XQD memory card
An XQD card reader for your computer
A fully charged EN-EL15 battery
Nikon firmware update file
After downloading the firmware update, copy the binary (.bin) file to the ROOT (main) directory of the XQD card. Put the card in your camera and navigate to the Firmware Version option in the Z6 or Z7’s SETUP (wrench icon) menu. Follow the on-screen prompts to update your firmware to the current version (currently 2.10).
I’ve been using Adobe Lightroom (Lightroom Classic) in earnest for about five years now, and my image library contains over 80,000 photos. Every now and then, I like to streamline my catalog to reduce clutter. A great way to do this is by using the “Refine Photos” command in Lightroom Classic: