Lightning photography

What would be the right suite and workflow for lightning photography?
I realize that these packages are not a “cure all” but I’d like to find which packages do the most for me, and what order to apply them.

My original thought was gigapixel to bump up the resolution and then sharpen to clean up the lightning.

I’m currently looking at gigapixel, sharpen and denoise, but they all seem to overlap a bit in functionality.
The usual problem is a little bit of blur, possibly from wind shaking the tripod, or being slightly off focus.
Getting infinity focus in the dark, without a lens with a hard stop at infinity can be difficult.

There is also a lot of fine structure in the lightning itself, which I don’t want to obliterate, and very bright sections where the image gets blown out.

The ability to batch process is important, it’s not unusual for me to come home with hundreds of frames to process.

A very good article about shooting and processing lighting images …

Focusing methods for a lens without distance scales …


I’ve sent myself the link to this to have for future ref - for when we can ever go out again. Glad you posted it, Don.

Right now, besides the 111 degree F heat in northern CA we also can’t go outside due to the toxic wildfire smoky air (the past few days the ratings have been around 185 which translates to ‘dangerous for everyone’ - and it’s been in the only moderate to bad quality for around 20 days now - talk about 2nd hand smoke…).

Your welcome, 185 is pretty high but we had many days last year at over 200 … very debilitating but this year Covid-29 has been wonderful for the environment, but obviously not for the employed.

I was hoping to get some advice on how best to apply the topaz products to lightning photography.

I can’t guarantee, depending on your captures, but what I would likely try is this workflow in this order:

1- DeNoise AI - try the different mode options w/in the product to see which works best for your images. Always best to get rid of any noise 1st.

2- Sharpen AI - depending on the look you’re going for you may want to use the masking features in SAI to selectively sharpen areas of your image or not. Do some light creative sharpening after a denoise process. Output sharpening should match your display method (print, online, published by printing company, etc) - level of sharpening should vary for each. Output sharpening should be the last thing you do. So if you plan to do 3 & 4 below, do the final output sharpening after them.

Those would be the functional “clean up” Topaz software tools. Of course, Gigapixel AI might be useful as another functional option if you have to crop tighter on a far off shot to make your lightning more the star. After that tighter crop you can use GAI to enlarge your image & retain resolution.

Then you could go in a variety of directions for processing your lightning creatively if you desire.

3- Topaz Studio - has BW conversion, cross processing, art filter fx (painting, drawing, cartoon, etc.) and more.

4- Mask AI - would let you select elements of your image then either substitute different elements or make alterations (brightness, contrast, color, etc) to selected elements. Or, use selective elements to create brand new composites.

Hope that’s enough starter ideas for you to experiment with using Topaz ( perhaps Topaz combined with other hosts like Ps or Affinity). Have fun. Good luck.

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