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The water fades in a not-that-smooth way, with some arc-shaped slightly-reddish stripes. As a comparison, the sky has a almost perfectly smooth fade from white to blue.

Compressed original image with full view:

Compressed original image with full view

Cropped full-size image:

Cropped full-size image

Cropped post-processed:

Cropped post-processed

I wonder if this look of the water is normal?

It actually looked a lot worse after a reasonable boost on contrast and saturation as can seen in the third picture.

Shot with Sony A6300 with kit lens, ISO100, 1/100, F13, 16mm, origianlly as jpeg.

Hope you could zoom in a bit and see what I am trying to describe.

view images on imgur

If this is normal, I wish to know any ways in Adobe Lightroom to possibly reduce specifically this kind of noise.

Thank you so much!

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  • Related: Name of the "lines in the photo" problem – scottbb Oct 31 '17 at 21:36
  • In LR, use the Color Noise slider (pretty far down on the right side), and set it to 70 or even 100, that should help a bit. If not, mark the affected area generously and move sharpness to -100. Reducing Saturation also makes it less obvious. But the real solution is to not shot JPG, but RAW – Aganju Oct 31 '17 at 23:49
  • @Aganju And work in 16-bit instead of 8-bit mode in LR or whatever other RAW processing application one is using. – Michael C Nov 1 '17 at 2:20
  • @scottbb Thank you for the links. I tried searching at the first place but couldn't find suitable key words. Those are very helpful. – Phoebus Nov 1 '17 at 2:59
  • @Aganju Have started to shoot in RAW+JPG. Thanks for the tips! – Phoebus Nov 1 '17 at 2:59
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This is called posterization, also called banding, and is a result of several factors including 1) the lower density of values available in the darkest parts of a picture - in JPG mode, you have 8 bits, or 256 values; half of those (128) are in about the brightest 1/8th of the picture, 64 in the next brightest 1/8th, and so on... this means the darkest areas have fewer available values and so larger visual differences between them, and 2) the conversion to JPEG can introduce or exacerbate the artifacts introduced by this quantization.

There are two common options for dealing with this, which you can easily find out more about with a little searching - either "expose to the right", which will help in some cases, but not necessarily all, depending on the dynamic range present in the scene you are trying to capture, or shoot in RAW - this typically gives you either 12 or 14 bits to work with to enhance your image before downsampling it to a JPG, but does obviously introduce the need for some post-processing.

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