More shooting the Moon

Too much going on for anything but a quick post. In this case, a quick treatment of the full Moon I shot on July 9th of this year. 

Original JPG as output from the Nikon P900

The P900 continues to surprise and frustrate me. I can and often do get great photos . . . and then the camera will screw a few of them up, usually ones I would have wanted. I mean, it’s the camera, right? No way it’s the operator, right?

Anyway, that’s not a bad photo of the Moon, but the problem with the full moon is that without the terminator (the transition between the light and dark parts of a non-full moon) you just have a bright disk with few features. 

“So?” you ask. 

So, Topaz Studio just had an update that added the Detail module to the program. I already own the plugin, so the update was free for me. Because I wanted to try it out, I picked the above photo to play with.

Before jumping on Studio, I played with settings in Lightroom. A few sliders were thrown, a couple of values tweaked, and . . . 

Lightroom adjustments only

By the way, as usual, WordPress degrades the photos. Click on the phots for what I actually uploaded. There is no SmugMug gallery as there’s no advantage to looking at the full-size versions. There is a gallery at the end that’s handy for comparing versions.

OK, I call that my baseline . . . not great, but not terrible either. The point here was to make quick adjustments to see what I could get with little effort. Here’s the Topaz Studio version. This includes adjustments using the Details module but also the regular adjustments included with the free program.

Topas Studio version

I was fairly pleased with this. It brought out structure where little was visible in the original shot. 

Structure . . . Silver Efx Pro 2 (another free program) has settings specifically addressing structure. Hmm . . . let’s see what it can do. 

Silver Efex Pro2

Well, crap, that also looks pretty good. 

I use ON1 Photo Effects 10 a whole lot (also free) so I gave it a spin and pushed it a bit more to see if I could give the photo a near three-dimensional look to it.

ON1 Effects 10

Well, at this point, I felt I’d not given Lightroom (not free) a fair chance, so I tweaked the Lightroom version a bit more. 

Lightroom second version

I tell you, it’s not so much that one looks significantly better than the others; it’s that the subtle differences each have positive and negative attributes over the others. I guess it depends on how one feels at the moment. One might like one now but like a different one ten minutes later. 

At least, that’s how it was for me. 

Here’s the gallery of the versions in the same sequence as above. If you have comments, please, feel free to leave them below. 


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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Black and White, Effects and Filters, Photography Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to More shooting the Moon

  1. mvschulze says:

    All are an almost “necessary” improvement on the original. I like “silver…” the favored, but amongst the last four…. they are pretty close. All allow an admirable improvement over the original, tools that define (no pun intended) what post-processing is all about. M:-)


    • disperser says:

      As my on-camera processing options are always turned down to the minimum, nearly all my images require some processing. B&W options are so varied that it really does come down to the spur-of-the-moment preference.

      I suppose that’s the same with color as well, although there I’ve settled on a certain look I’m OK with (for now).


  2. AnnMarie says:

    The Silver and ON1 got more of my attention. Lovely orb.


  3. Have you ever tried the Detail Extractor preset in Nik Color Efex Pro? There are three sliders: a detail %, contrast and saturation.


    • disperser says:

      I have, and it does a good job, but I don’t like that it’s a separate module. Sharpening tends to change the look of the photo and especially so in B&W (per my experience).

      Traditionally, sharpening is the last thing you should do to a photo as it can introduce unwanted artifacts and do funky things with the edges, however, that usually only visible if one gets down to the pixel level, something I tend to do less and less.


  4. oneowner says:

    I have a fondness for Dynamic Contrast (whatever that is) in the On1 suite. I try to do any noise suppression first if it’s necessary and the Dynamic Contrast really brings out the detail. It works fine on the Nikon and Oly images.


    • disperser says:

      Topaz detail and Silver efx both have that option and add adjustments for small, medium, and large features and one also adds something called micro.

      I always use dynamic and tonal contrast in my presets, although those are the two that I usually have to play with depending on the image.

      All of those are highly dependent on the final size of the image. I settled on 1280 as the maximum size for the blog both because of space consideration and because for many images presenting them in higher sizes changes how they look. For some fine work, it’s great to get down to a 1:1 magnification, but for most it just exposes the limitation of the camera/lens combination and of the user (but, I’ll always blame the camera and lenses).


  5. wow! Good work. I have used a lens filter in the past. Great detail!!


    • disperser says:

      Thanks. I think I would have even better results working with a RAW image.

      There is a limit to what you can do with JPG when it comes to luminosity, contrast, and even sharpening since the image has already been processed and you’re just adding to existing adjustments.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. colonialist says:

    I like the effect on the lightroom 2. It shows up features I have never achieved.


    • disperser says:

      I should have mentioned that all the tools — if one is sufficiently familiar with the various settings and how they interact — are capable of producing very similar results.

      The thing to remember, though, is the ease and the amount of time involved in doing so.

      As for the features, one of the advantages of the camera is that it can zoom so close. I can use better lenses that have lesser zooms and then crop the photos, but it requires more work. I think I see more detail in these photos than any I’ve taken with my regular rig.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for mooning us.
    Beautiful and peaceful.


  8. I think it’s time you stopped shooting the moon; poor thing looks pretty beat up with all those craters.


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