Noisy, noisy night...
Ah well, sometimes I just stumble upon techniques that change the way I take pictures. I call these my "impossible pictures". But, before I begin, I'd like to thank Marianna Santoni, an Adobe Guru from Italy, for pointing this out.
Okay, so what's the problem with pictures you shoot at night with a digital camera anyway? It's all the noise, of course! The pictures used in this tutorial were taken with a Canon EOS 400D (ISO 1600, f/3.5, 1/15)
When you take pictures using high ISO and long exposure times, there is an easy way to get rid of those unwanted color speckles!
All you need to do is shoot several images of the same subject (all of which will have some degree noise):
Paste them all into a single Photoshop file and Auto-align them (I had to, because I was not using a tripod, so there was some movement); Edit > Auto-Align Layers...
Convert them to a Smart Object; Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object.
An now... Layer > Smart Objects > Stack Mode > Median (or Mean, depending on the result you want to achieve). Hold your breath... Adobecadabra! Noise gone! Or at least dramatically reduced.
Subsequently, I fooled around with Levels and Hue/Saturation (using Adjustment Layers) and then, after converting the image for Smart Filter, I applied Smart Sharpen. Please use Adjustment Layers and Smart Filters... the last thing we want to do in our lifetime is to permanently hurt pixels. Let's all work non-destructively, for a better world in which not a single pixel ever gets harmed.
My final result is something like this:
Not bad for an amateur such as yours truly. No? I love Hong Kong!