Lightroom: Noise Reduction, Luminance vs Color

category: Lightroom • 2 min read

Saw-whet Owl

Saw-whet Owl

Here’s my “masterpiece” and yes it’s a masterpiece.

  1. It’s a Saw-whet owl. The owl is about 4 inch tall and weighs around 2½ ounces.
  2. I shot this at 400mm f/5.6, 15ft away.
  3. At this distance, the depth of field is just under 1 inch.
  4. Both eyes and the beak are in focus.
  5. It was a dark and very stormy late afternoon.
  6. There was a wind storm, with gusts of wind between 30 miles/hr to 50 miles/hr. The owl was hanging for dear life on his branch. I was hanging on the camera hand-held (no tripod or monopod), freezing the tips of my fingers.
  7. The shutter speed oscillated between 1/20s and 1/40s. Optical Stabilization, here we come. Many of the movements were not from the lens, the camera or me, but from the branches and the owl flying in the wind.
  8. The magic of ISO 3200!
  9. Total photos taken: 356
  10. Total photos with the eyes in focus: 131

Like I said a “masterpiece.” The eyes are in focus. The beak is also in focus. Most of the body is out of focus, and it’s very grainy.

The Noise Reduction is in the Develop module → Details. There are 2 sections, the color and the luminance.

Lightroom: noise reduction color and luminance

Lightroom: Noise Reduction: Color and Luminance

  1. Color: Basically, it’s the dark areas. The noise looks like the Xmas tree lights with some red dots, some green dots. By sliding to the right, you can reduce them.
  2. Luminance: It’s basically the grain. It removes the grain by making “mush”.

Then the trick is to add some sharpening to undo what the noise reduction did to recreate the edges. With this “masterpiece” I can use this photo up to 500 pixels high.