I wanted to photograph the full moon against a beautiful deep blue sky. I ended up with blown-out highlights of the moon:
So I switched to spot metering and captured the moon, losing the blue sky in the process:
I want a single photo that shows both the moon and the surrounding context (in this case, the blue sky). Doing an exposure fusion in Photomatix Essentials did not help:
Nor did HDR fusion (again in Photomatix):
Notice that the detail in the moon was lost in both cases, and the sky was also messed up in both cases: exposure fusion lost the beautiful blue color, while HDR created more texture than was actually present in the sky. I toggled Photomatix's option to remove ghosts, but that didn't help, either.
How do I photograph the moon together with its surrounding context (in this case, the blue sky, but in other cases, a tree, buildings, etc) without blowing highlights or shadows? I'm using a Sony NEX-5R, with the longest focal length lens I have, and with manual focus when needed.
Thinking I should fuse the photos manually, I tried opening the images as layers in Acorn, with the darker photo on top and with opacity set to 50%, and tried all 15 - 20 blending modes (normal, dodge, lighter, darker, multiply and so on), but none of them seemed to work. I'm afraid I don't know enough to use layers effectively. What blending mode and opacity and order of layers should I use for this task?
I don't have Photoshop, but do have Lightroom 5, Acorn and Nik Collection.
(In case you are about to recommend software, please note my requirements: I use a Mac, I would be willing to pay $20-30, and I don't want to use command-line software.)