Tag Archives: tips and tricks

Dealing with a blown-out moon in landscape photos

Using Photoshop to create natural landscape photos that include the moon

In landscape photography at twilight, the moon will most likely be blown-out. Here’s how to get a natural moon exposure in your images by using Adobe Photoshop.

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)

Reminder: Set your Camera Clocks back for Standard Time

It’s quick and easy if your camera offers a DST function

Daylight Savings Time (DST) ended in North America on Sunday, November 3rd. That means, we’re back on Standard Time until March 8th, 2020. You probably forgot to change the clock on your camera, though!

Having the correct date and time set in your camera is important because the time stamp that’s embedded in your digital images can be used for record-keeping, and to sync up with GPS track logs.

Most cameras today offer an easy way to set the clock for Daylight Savings Time

Changing your camera’s clock is easy if it has a Daylight Savings Time function (Nikon Z7 shown)

First, find the “Time and Date” menu item in your camera’s settings. Next, see if there is a Daylight Savings or “DST” option. If so, simply set it to OFF and your camera’s clock will “fall back” one hour. If it was already set to OFF, then you’ll need to manually adjust the camera clock. In spring, when DST returns, change the DST setting to ON.

In the fall, set DST to OFF. Change it to ON in the spring!

Easy-peasy!

Long Exposure Photographs Are Simply Amazing

long exposure photographs
Use a long exposure to dramtically transform your scene from a snapshot to a work of art.

If you’re looking to transform your images from snapshots into stunning creative photos, try experimenting with long exposure photographs. All you need is a camera that supports bulb exposure mode,  a tripod, and in some cases a dark filter. In twilight conditions, long exposure photographs are pretty easy. Set your lens aperture to f/16 or f/22 and then set your camera’s ISO value to its the lowest possible setting.

To capture long exposure photographs during the day, you’ll need to add a dark filter to your lens. These filters, called a solid neutral density filters, enable you to capture a long exposure photograph during the day. In either case, keep in mind that you’ll need a solid tripod to make a long exposure photograph.

How Long Exposure Photographs Transform Your Images

Here are just a few ways how a long exposure photograph delivers maximum impact, especially in places that are popular with photographers. Use a long exposure and deliver dynamic images with the “wow” factor you can’t capture with a snapshot. Continue reading Long Exposure Photographs Are Simply Amazing