I took several photographs of full moon but all pictures are bright, can I reduce the brightness and bringout the layers of moon as I see with naked eye.?

  • Please take a look at the discussion going on under my answer. As @MichaelClark has pointed out, the answer I've provided may not be enough for you. I'm assuming some things about your exposure and answering from there. Instead of me assuming, can you post an image or give more detail about the image you're trying to process?
    – OnBreak.
    Feb 2 '18 at 16:40

Generally speaking, once something is completely blown (or clipped) - there is nothing there to recover.

You can try to process the RAW file such that you try underexposing by as much as possible to see if there is any salvageable data hiding in the blown-out moon.

If there is, great! You will now need to produce a couple of jpegs from the RAW file. One where the moon is properly exposed, and another where everything else is properly exposed. You could export images at 1/2 stop intervals from point A to B and use something like an HDR merge to merge them all together, or simply export the two and mask the better quality moon into the better exposed everything else image. If you have questions on either of those processes, please search and ask additional questions.

However, if you toggle the exposure in the RAW converter to it's maximum underexposure and the moon is still pure in color - then I'm afraid there is nothing there to salvage.

  • In my experience, RAW->JPEG->HDR is unnnecessary - it is far easier to simply boost/lower the highlights/shadows via the RAW. That is: if all the photos have the same exposure. If you have exposure-bracketed shots, then tone-mapping does make sense (if something is clipping at all, that is).
    – flolilo
    Feb 1 '18 at 17:08
  • 1
    @flolilolilo, I agree with you in probably 99% of shots. Mapping a moon at -2 back into a shot at 0 is probably best done using a graduated ND style of mask. Easily done in just lightroom with the single RAW. But, I've no knowledge of OP's post processing prowess and wanted to leave room to wiggle on the how to accomplish the final image.
    – OnBreak.
    Feb 1 '18 at 17:39
  • If we are talking about the moon versus the landscape under the moon, the difference is going to be considerably more than 2 stops. But the way the question reads to me is that we are talking about the darkest and lightest parts of the moon.
    – Michael C
    Feb 1 '18 at 19:18
  • @MichaelClark - I mention the -2 in terms of what a RAW processor is capable of with a single shot. I read the q assuming a moon that is incredibly overexposed and probably blown. Do you know of any way to recover more than -2 stops from a single raw file?
    – OnBreak.
    Feb 1 '18 at 19:22
  • @Cory In your answer you reference "One where the moon is properly exposed, and another where everything else is properly exposed." That's pretty much the only situation with the moon where one would need to use layers because the brightness of the two exposure would need to be so disparate as to not fit in a single raw file. The brightest and dimmest values of the illuminated parts of the surface of the moon easily fit within a single raw image file when properly exposed.
    – Michael C
    Feb 1 '18 at 19:31

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