405 – Those Lonely Lonely Nights

Yesterday evening, after dinner at the local Greek restaurant, I decided to walk around the block. I had five images that day, three or four usable, which would have been perfectly alright, but when you’re in the habit of taking images all the time, these numbers are unnervingly low 🙂

One round around the block proved enough. It was cold and unfriendly, so when I got this image, I was satisfied.

Sigma 10-20 at 13mm, f4.5, ISO 1600 and 1/3s.

This is the second image in a row now, that uses a technique that I just discovered (well, for me at least, everyone else may already know it).

Have you ever tried to push saturation on a noisy image? Something shot at ISO 1600? Uhhh, you get terrible blotches of color. One way to get around that, is to convert to Lab and blur the color channels, but this one works in RGB:

Duplicate your layer, blur it with a Gaussian blur and a high radius of around 30. You get buttery smooth colors with absolutely no noise, albeit no detail. Then set the blending mode to “Color”. Voilà, you see the original luminance and detail, but with the smooth colors. Now you can add a Hue/Saturation layer and mightily increase saturation. Try to switch the “color smoothing layer” off and see the difference.

Of course this is a trade-off between color noise and color detail, but as the eye is not so picky when it comes to color detail, you are likely to get away with it.

The Song of the Day is “Those Lonely Lonely Nights” from the 1972 album “Dr. John’s Gumbo“. Sorry, no lyrics.

3 thoughts on “405 – Those Lonely Lonely Nights”

  1. Thanks, I always enjoy a glimpse in your wizardry box of tricks…

    I can already think of some pictures in m collection that will serve as my virtual guinea pigs.

  2. Oh, that’s not mine in the least. I am only too lazy to read tutorials, so I tend to re-invent the wheel. Still, it is always a nice thing to see, when it begins to roll 🙂

    Be aware, though, that these smooth colors bleed into areas where they are not supposed to be. 30 pixels, that’s quite some radius.

  3. It is a smooth image, in more ways than one! I particularly like the way the color flows. It seems to flow UP the street, and I can find no reason for me to interpret it this way. It would seem almost obvious that it should flow DOWN. But no, it doesn’t, it flows UP (towards the light perhaps?). Odd, but I like it.

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