After a long absence, I’m popping back in, mainly as a “note to self.” I want to capture the recipe given me by Charlie Lehman to help deal with some hot spots in my original shot.
These are his instructions: Here is a way using a luminosity mask. Open your RAW converter, whatever, ACR, LR, Nikon Capture NX2, etc. Lower your exposure compensation so that you have detail in the highlight areas of that image and save it as file D (dark), a 16 bit TIF file. Now, raise your exposure compensation so that you have detail in your shadows and save it as file L (Yep, Light), 16 bit TIF.
Open both D and L in Photoshop. go to file D and do a Control A (select all), Control C (copy the selection), and Control W (close that file). Now you are in file L, do a Control V (paste). It will paste the D file over the L file in a new layer. Press the Mask Icon at the bottom of the Layer window.
Now, click your mouse in the bottom Background layer. Do a Control A and a Control C. You won’t see any thing happening but trust me, you are selecting and copying the bottom layer. Hold down your Alt Key and click in the Mask in the top layer. The mask turn white. Do a Control V (paste the bottom layer in the mask) and you will have a B&W image. Open the Gaussian Blur, set it to 40 Pixels and hit OK. Looks weird, right, all B&W and fuzzy? Just click your mouse in the Background Layer and, Voila, magic. You can flatten the images at this point and make it a 8 bit file too if you wish. Now, the image won’t be pretty, you still have work, but you should have detail in the highlights and in the shadows. An image to work with.
I applied the instructions to the image above, then I added a layer of the original image with a layer mask set to “hide all.” I brushed back in the lights on the water. Much more work could be done, but I’m happy with the progress I was able to make. And if this helps someone out there in the interwebs, thats great, too!