Aurora HDR 2018 – the honest review

Hallstatt in the morning

Hallstatt in Austria. Edited in Aurora HDR 2018. 0% Photoshop used and 1% Lightroom used.

Initially, when Aurora HDR came out two years ago, I was very intrigued with the software. No doubt the makers of Aurora MacPhun, have put themselves in a good position, by allying themselves with one of the HDR giants, Trey Ratcliff. But, after the first initial rush of interest, I was deeply disappointed.

I did go into the software with a very open mind. I am a software addict and I love to use new software, however, I instantly ran into trouble. It was Mac only, I had Windows. I did have a 4-year-old MacBook Air. The biggest 2011 model, 4 Gb ram and i7 CPU. Powerful enough to run Photoshop, Photomatix, and Lightroom. Not the fastest car on the highway, but certainly working.

But, starting the first version of Aurora HDR with a 36-megapixel image was impossible. I downscaled the images to about 12 megapixels and I was able to start the application, but I ended up waiting until I got a MacBook Pro.

But even on my fully loaded, top of the line, all on max MacBook Pro, Aurora HDR was slow. Whenever I did anything it took seconds and some operations up to a minute. I timed it.

I did make a couple of OK-ish images and I did a review while still biased by the hype. But as soon as the smoke did clear, I was not overly happy to work with the tool, because it was so slow.

Aurora 2017 arrived

What? I have to buy a new version, not just an update? All of my other tools for Photoshop come with free updates. That didn’t feel right. Particularly, because the first version was more of a Beta than an actual working tool. And looking at all of the praise on the internet and feeling the hype, I thought “This is the Emperors New Clothes”. They were selling a turd as if it was the greatest pumpkin pie ever made.

Anyway, I bought 2017 reluctantly. The speed issues were mostly gone, which was good. A new luminosity feature had arrived, not very fast though, but most things were snappy enough.

I now tried out the quality of the tool, but I was deeply disappointed by the tool itself. It generated halos no matter what I did, and I could not really get rid of them. The brush left strong edges between the layers, making it even harder to work with.

Once in a while, I have tried to process a photo, but I never liked what came out of it and I simply stopped using it.

The hype was still going on and to me, Aurora HDR 2017 true was just as much The Emporers New Clothes as the first version had been.

Aurora 2018 – I have to pay – again?

I almost didn’t buy it.

Come on, make a subscription out of it! It is ridiculous to buy a new version every year.

Being so disappointed with the two initial versions, I had almost given up on it. But being the software addict, that I am, I bought it and in short, I was deeply impressed.

Let’s begin with a screenshot:

This is 5 exposure bracketed images and I have just merged the 5 images and nothing else. I have touched no sliders. This is the clean HDR merge that Aurora HDR does. Notice the very strong dark halos on the left, which is the 2017 version. That type of halos is present in Aurora 2017, almost no matter what you do. You have to make counteractions to get rid of them or try to hide them as well as you can, but it shouldn’t be that way. Almost all tools can generate halos if you go over the top, but not out of the box. This is what Aurora HDR is put in the world to do. Merge exposure bracketed photos to something decent.

Almost all tools can generate halos if you go over the top, but not out of the box. This is what Aurora HDR is put in the world to do. Merge exposure bracketed photos to something decent.

On the right there is you can see the new Aurora HDR 2018 merge and not only, does it not have halos, it also does a very clean and nice merge. That has changed my mind entirely on Aurora HDR. At least the software now does, what it is supposed to do.

A few other very nice new details that I like:

  • The speed has improved even more. I would go so far, as to call it very snappy and responsive in most respects, even on my 42-megapixel images. They have certainly worked on optimizing the speed. It will get slower, as you add more layers, just as well as Photoshop does. But suddenly you trigger something, that requires heavy calculating. But, mostly snappy.
  • There are the necessary tools to finalize a photo in Aurora HDR 2018. You have:
    • Transform features to correct perspectives. However, this feature is only available at certain times, which makes it very confusing to figure out. A good beginning, but room for improvement.
    • Crop tool.
    • The Heal tool is an external tool that requires an additional license, but it is accessible from Aurora. You can also just remove the spots in Lightroom.

Other improvements that I like

  • The brush is soft enough to make nice blends between layers. In 2017 clear edges appeared around the brush, which was another reason not to use Aurora 2017.
  • Original images are not apart of the new file format, which I guess is fine if you don’t need them. You can load them if you need them.

What I don’t like

  • The merge is very clean, but it does tend to make the photos a bit flat. That is normal behavior for HDR software, and you will have to process the image more, to add depth back into the image.
  • Minor things that I find annoying, like:
    • There is no “Save as…” feature – but why not?
    • Some features are located strangely, like the Transform.
    • No preview from Finder or Bridge. A small thing, but it just does make it easier to handle Aurora HDR files in a workflow.
  • Call it software subscription, instead of a new paid version every year. I don’t mind paying for a subscription, at least I know it’s a subscription.

Who is Aurora HDR 2018 the right tool for?

When you begin to use a tool, that does a lot automatically, like Aurora HDR 2018 does, you also have to accept that it has a distinct and recognizable style. Aurora HDR has a distinct style and you have to do some work, to get rid of it, just like you would with any other tool. That doesn’t make it a bad tool if you like what you get out of it.

Aurora HDR is capable of producing high-quality HDR photos, without the nasty halos the first two versions created. It is packed with a lot various effect tools, like Radiance, Glow, HSL panel, Split toning panel, various HDR structure sliders, vignette tool as well as old plain contrast, highlights shadows and white and black sliders. You also have the Luminosity masks available. In short, it is a pretty full package.

So, who is this tool for? Anyone how likes to shoot HDR photos and who might feel that dancing with Photoshop is too difficult, but Lightroom is not enough.

Aurora HDR 2018 is finally ready for real use and it is a full package, that can produce final images, maybe with the exception of removing dust spots.

Will this be my tool of choice? For some things, absolutely, but not solely. Why? Because I love to work in Photoshop and some of the highly advanced things I like to do in Photoshop, are not available in Aurora HDR. I love to post-process the images. I don’t necessarily want the fastest route through the forest. But that is just how I am. You may feel different.

–Jacob

 

 

 

Voigtlander 15mm FE in action in Barcelona

The Cathedral by the Sea

Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona. A vertical panorama of two stiched photos.

I am a total wide angle lens addict and I have much more than I actually need, but they serve different purposes and have different strengths and weaknesses.

The Voigtländer SUPER WIDE-HELIAR 15mm III is one of my favorites, even if it has some limits. The most obvious advantage is the size of this lens. It is super small and it is a perfect match for a Sony alpha FE camera, like Sony A7R or Sony A7RII.

The build quality is solid, but due to the small size, the weight doesn’t run off, even if it is all metal and glass. That makes it great for traveling light.

What I also like about it, is that being a prime, it is super easy to focus. I just crank it all the way to one side and it is focused at infinity, which often is good enough. With a little practice I have even found the amount I have to twist contra to get to the hyperfocal point.

I work a lot in the dark and focusing can sometimes be a hassle, because the lenses hunt. But the Voigtländer is super easy. Of course, it does not offer autofocus, but for my line of photography, this is no problem, as long as infinity focus is easy.

It does come with soft corners at f/4.5, but even at f/5.6 this improves and at f/8 it is reasonably sharp across all of the frame. It is not as sharp as my Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8, which is insanely sharp, but plenty sharp to be working seriously with. The Zeiss is just in a league of its own, and it is twice the price.

The most obvious drawback is that it is a slow lens. It is only f/4.5. But, when I attach it to my Sony A7RII, which has image stabilization in the house, I can handheld 1/8 of a second, if I concentrate. This makes it possible to shoot HDR photos indoor, in fairly low light conditions.

A Lady in the Boys Choir

Hand held at ISO 1600 and f/4.5 using image stabilization. Slowest exposure is 1/8 of a second.

This photo from the Cathedral of Barcelona, I have handheld three shots at 1/125, 1/30 and 1/8 of a second, at f/4.5 and ISO 1600 on Sony A7RII. Here is a 100% crop of the 1/8:

This is the unedited RAW, without sharpness and noise reduction applied. This is highly usable, even the noise levels are well under control, thanks to the amazing Sony A7RII.

I also find it very resistant to flares, compared to some of my other wide angle lenses. Flares are a part of a life with wide angle lenses, but I rarely get frustrated when I use the Voigtländer 15mm.

The lens allows screw on filters, but you can’t remove the lens hood and attach a filter system. As I started out with, the various wide angle lenses have their strengths and weaknesses. For that reason, I also have the Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8, which allows 77mm filters to be attached, and I can use my Lee filters on that.

I always carry my 15mm Voightländer with my Sony cameras, because it is so small and easy to bring along.

–Jacob

 

Visiting Liverpool

The Entrance to Button Street in Liverpool

The entrance to the area where The Cavern is located.

Liverpool has a strong history in many ways. It has football, shipyard industry and the music to mention a few. The Beatles came out of Liverpool and in particular, one club is known for having the Beatles playing there, and that is the Cavern.

In particular, The Beatles have put a lot of footprints in the Button Street and Mathew Street area, where The Cavern is located. The Cavern as it was back when The Beatles played there, does not exist anymore, due to construction work. But a new Cavern has been built in some of the original areas. Whether that is kind of fake or good enough I think is a subjective matter.

To me, The Cavern was a bit over the top touristic wise, but the rooms were pretty cool and gave an impression of how it might have looked back then.

We went on a Beatles tour too, with our own cab with a knowledgeable guy from Fab4Tours. There is a huge amount of mythology and The Beatles stories. Some are just good stories but have got nothing to do with the real world. Sorting out what is real and what is not, is hard work or impossible work. Fab4Tours have tried to find into the core what supposedly is the truth.

But seeing Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields and how they relate to the songs is quite fantastic.

This photo I shot at the entrance to the party area. It is a 3 shot HDR I shot on my new FujiFilm X100F. Did I mention, that I love that camera?

–Jacob

Long Exposure photography on Sony A7R

Kastrup Søbad

Kastrup Søbad which is located in Greater Copenhagen.

This location in Greater Copenhagen I have had on my to do list for quite a while. This particular day, I wanted to test my Lee filters on my Sony A7R using the Sony Zeiss 24-70 f/4 lens. Normally I use my filters on my Nikon camera, because they have the 77mm size that fits my adapter ring. But I have bought a 67mm adapter ring and had a 67mm -> 62mm step down ring, which made it possible to use my filter kit on the 24-70 f/4.

I had an upcoming UK trip and I seriously considered leaving the D800 at home, and stick to my Sony’s, due to the much smaller size and a little more flexibility on the lenses, by carrying only one system.

As it turned out this evening, the Sony A7R did very well with the filters and long exposures. This photo is a 79 seconds exposure and I have no complaints about the quality of the image.

For the shoot I used a 6-stop Lee filter, also called The Little Stopper, and then a 2-stop soft ND-grad.

The Sea Pool is lit until 2300 hours, which I didn’t know. I arrived with the lights on, and I thought it was fantastic with lights on. A bit difficult to shoot, due to the extreme dynamic range, but a challenge. Then suddenly they turned out the light and I thought, that that was that. I shot two shots more, mostly because I just found a composition that I liked. And I shot them without the lights. This being one of them.

As it turned out the ones without the light are by far the best. Learnings to take with me: Even when the moment seems gone, don’t despair, you might get something else, maybe even better.

–Jacob

 

Fujifilm X100F is a great camera but…

Morning View of Åre Skisport Resort

Åre early in the morning seen from my hotel room.

It was a Fuji X100 that in 2012 was one-half of the cause to start my photo disease. That is the sickness in which one is driven to take the next bold photo.

A lot has happened since 2017. I have moved to first DSLRs and later I included mirrorless cameras. But even the mirrorless cameras are not pocketable, the X100 was.  , but I was very pleased when there was finally a

The X100 had two major limitations, which meant that I didn’t use it terribly much. First of all, the sensor was 12 megapixels, which was only just enough. And not enough for cropping. Second, it only did -1, 0 and +1 in bracketing, which is rarely enough to shoot the HDR scenes that I shoot.

But when the X100F got out, I was happy. Finally – 24 megapixel and -2, 0 and +2 autoexposure bracketing, and still the amazing image quality. I bought it instantly and I love it very much. The smallest camera I have, fast and amazing image quality. I have used that diligently since then.

I shot the image on top, with my X100F from my hotel room in Åre, Sweden. It is a panoramic picture consisting of 3 pictures. I actually had much bigger ambitions with this image than I managed. I would have made a ‘compressed time’ picture, in which I merged pictures together, to show time from when it was completely dark until it was bright.

But, the fantastic little X100F came in short. Funny, because it can easily take time lapse pictures for hours. Even bracketed. The camera also has Manual focus, which works great by the way. First I tried using autofocus, but fair enough, it was nearly pitch dark. The camera could not focus. Instead, I switched to manual focus. But it made a funny mechanical sound after each photo. After having lied in my bed, I eventually got up and checked. All of the images where slightly out of focus.

Then I looked out of the window and thought ‘this is pretty damn nice – I will just shoot a panorama’ – and the result is at the top.

Time compressed photo

A night I picked up my Nikon D800 and put that up for time lapse photography. The good old real DSLR does not play any of the funky electronic games. This image below is 5 hours compressed into one image.

A Mountain Sunset in Sweden

Åre in Sweden in a time compressed photo.

–Jacob

Copenhagen waking up

Copenhagen waking up

Waking up in Copenhagen.

On my way to the dentist one early morning, I suddenly noticed this reflection. I have crossed Kultorvet in Copenhagen hundreds of times. But I have never seen the reflection. I had 15 minutes for shooting photos. I learned the reason why I had never seen the reflection before. just as I was finishing up. It is a fountain, and I had to jump off not to get wet.

Sky replacement can change the mood

Mountain Range and the Lake

Mountain Range and the Lake, New Zealand, 2012.

I don’t have as many landscapes as I would like in my portfolio. In some ways this is frustrating but in other ways, this gives me a lot of fun and artistic opportunities.

Recently I searched my New Zealand photos. I was there in 2012 on a family trip and for that reason true landscape photo opportunities were limited. By true landscape photography opportunities, I mean when you get up early at the right location and have all the time in the world, to wait for the weather to behave. I had a couple of those situations and I am very happy with the results.

New Zealand is packed with beautiful landscape and when I was not driving I often shot photos through the window of our mobile home. It requires a bit of practice to predict an upcoming scene and capturing it. But I managed to get a few. I noticed this photo and thought it had a bit of potential. There is a streak of

Recently, I noticed this photo and thought it had a bit of potential. There is a streak of sunlight on the mountain, which makes the whole difference. We drove past Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea on this day and the light didn’t really play ball with me. But this one is slightly different, because of the sunlight on the mountain. However, the sky was not too good and the wind kind of ruined the water.

The original unedited (except for the crop) shows how much I have changed it. I replaced the sky with a more interesting sky I shot back home. Some time ago I began to shoot interesting clouds when I see some, just in case. This allowed me to try out several different clouds for this image.

What I searched for, was sky and clouds that could add something to the photo in terms of color and light and as well as play a part in the composition. I ended up using this one with pinkish clouds on the left. This is another one of the candidates I considered. I love the cloud formation, it looks almost like a dragon I think, however it is not a perfect match with the rest of the composition.

The replacement itself required a bit of tedious work along the snow-clad in the mountains. It is difficult for selection tools to tell the difference between white snow and white clouds. The eye can see the difference and I had to mask it manually.

When I had decided for the pinkish clouds I noticed a big difference in the colors of the image. The colors of the mountains looked too much like the late afternoon it was and not as a closer to sunset image. I needed to tweak the colors of the mountains and perhaps the water. There are many different ways to do it, I settled for using the gradient adjustment layer in Photoshop.

  1. I added the Gradient Adjustment layer.
  2. Then I changed the blend mode to Color. This affects the colors of the image, but not the tonality.
  3. Then I chose to colors from the clouds for the color gradient. I fiddled a bit with them, to get the right colors. And as you can see it added a nice purple hue to the area where the sun shines. Just what I had hoped for.

From here I worked with the contrasts and the water. I did a semi-motion blur on the water, to smooth out the contrasts a bit and make it look a bit like a long exposure.

These tricks place the image in the landscape category, but it is also more than that. My tricks add something unnatural to the image, which I like and it matches the game I play as an artist. Balancing on the ridge between the valley of the reality and the valley of surrealism.

This photo was great fun to make and it made me happy 🙂

 

Jacob

The Day to Night project

On the way home

On the way home

I always have various projects that I am working. Some can go on for years at a low intensity but then suddenly bloom. Like this Day to Night concept.

I have been working on adding computer-rendered effects to my images to a greater extent and I am having a lot of fun doing it.

Today I have been working on this Day to Night image, which is a boring daytime photo from a small village in the french alps. We were on the way to shoot photos in Queyras and had to drive across the Galibier pass. As it turned out it was closed due to snow, and we had to go all the way to Italy to get there. It cost us 3 hours.

This is a before and after of the photo.

How to create a composite image in Photoshop

X-Wing Squadron in Sweden

X-Wing Squadron in Sweden.

I had a lot of fun making this photo of three X-Wings from Starwars patrolling a Swedish night. I got the idea to make this image because I am working on a book on composition and I use a spaceship as a metaphor. I thought it would be cool to have a photo of a spaceship on those pages, but how do you get a photo of a spaceship? They don’t sit on every second corner.

My first thought was to use one my sons Lego spaceships (he has a ton of them). But before I acted I remembered this kind of cool shot of the ‘Space Mountain’ in Disneyland Paris and decided that would have to make do.

Space Mountain

But I then shuffled a bit around in the photos from that area, and I noticed a photo of the X-Wing and an idea came to me. An X-Wing is a proper spaceship, just what I needed. I would put that on a shot of the Milky Way that has no foreground object or main subject, other than a bit of wood and the Milky Way itself.

I had two shots of the X-Wings from the same angle, just shot on two different days, using two different cameras. Had I known what I would need photos of the X-Wing at a later time, I would have shot a series from different angles, but I didn’t.

Xwing photos

The original photo of the Milky Way looked like this:

The Milky Way in Karlskrona

This is the first shot I shot of the Milky Way. It requires an area low on light polution. This is place in Sweden is not too bad. You can see a bit of light polution just above the trees. However, the photo is not interesting in itself. There is a lack of interesting foreground.

The process of creating a believable composite

I wanted to make the illusion of three X-Wing fighters patrolling Sweden and to make that work and I could see some problems that I needed to be solved.

Problem #1: One photo is shot in the daylight, the second at night

I had to make the X-Wing fighters fall in, and I had two ideas, either a painterly cartoon-like approach or I could take a path on a more realistic look. I decided to try the painterly cartoon style first.

The photo is only a jpg, but I created two virtual copies in Lightroom and made an artificial -2 and +2 for an HDR processing workflow.

3 shot xwing

These three I put into my HDR software and got out a tone mapped HDR version. If the image, like this one, is shot in a low dynamic range situation like here, you can get fine results, when you tone map an image like this. It is only a pseudo HDR, but you still get the look from a real HDR.

At this time, I did not notice; but have a look at the darker image. That fits just perfectly into a night image. I figured that out later, but I only noticed this, because I had made this darker -2 version of the image. And that is the one in the final image.

Problem #2: Masking out the background from the X-Wing

The X-Wing is a pretty regular shape, and it is not too hard to cut out using the Pen tool. The Pen tool can create a Path, which can be converted to a very sharp mask, but it takes a little practice to use.

But for an object like this X-Wing, it was the only real option. I tried some of the magic tools in Photoshop at first, but it just didn’t work well enough in this situation.

XWing Mask

The Pen tool you will find here:

Use the Pen

The Pen Tool allows you to set a series of dots. Photoshop will play “connect the dots”, and if you end up closing the line, you will have a shape. That shape you can convert to a Selection.

Create a selection

You get some options before you get your selection.

Feather selection

Starting from the bottom, you want to create a ‘New Selection’, and you also want to have it on ‘Anti-aliased’, because it makes a smoother transition between the neighboring pixels on the edge.

And the first option is ‘Feather Radius’. If you set this to zero, you will get a very hard edge, and it will not blend very well with a background. Typically I use values between 0.5 and 2, depending a bit on the size of the object, the resolution and what it is. For the X-Wing I used 1-pixel feather radius, and that looks great.

How to use the Pen Tool in Photoshop?

This takes a little practice before you get the hang of it. Start by setting the first dot at a location good for closing the path to a shape. A corner is always a good place.

1 Making a path

When you place the second dot DO NOT let go of the mouse button. Keep it pressed and move the mouse, notice how the path begins to bend, depending on how you move your mouse. Use this to make the path follow the shape, you want to have a mask for.

2 understanding the path

You also get two additional lines (handles). The handles tell Photoshop how to bend the path. Each dot has two handles, one for bending the path before the dot, and one for bending the path after the dot.

The path between two dots is controlled by two handles, one from each dot.

Moving handles: A handle can be moved if you carefully position the mouse exactly over the handle and press ALT. Then you can drag it around and change the path. It is necessary to use this in corners and whenever there is a need for a sudden change in the direction of the path.

And when you miss the handle, just press Undo. You will miss it 100 times because it is small.

Moving a dot: You can move a dot if you press CMD on a Mac or CTRL on PC. Again, be careful to place the mouse exactly on top of the dot, and as with the handles use Undo, whenever you miss. And you will miss.

It takes a little practice, but as soon as you get going, you can make a perfect mask for the X-Wing in less than 30 minutes.

Problem #3 making a seamless composite

As mentioned in Problem #1 I ended up using the darker exposure, and when I added the mask (just press the ‘add mask’ when your selection from the path is active), the X-Wing appeared on top of my Milky Way. As you can see in this 270% crop, the transition between the X-Wing and the background is seamless. This is because of the ‘Feather Radius’ of 1 pixel, as mentioned in Problem #2.

250 percent crop

I made three duplicates of the X-Wing layer, and resized and rotated them a bit, to make them look like three individual X-Wings. I also distored the shape slightly, but not too much. Too much would be obvious, because the perspective would be distorted.

The second part is to make the light match both in intensity and colors. The original X-Wing is shot in daytime, and the colors match a daytime.

X-Wing colors

To make it fit better I change the colors, using a curves layer. I have organized my three X-Wings in a Layout Group. I can target any adjustment layer to only the the layer just below, and if that is a Group of layers, they will all be targettet. But my background will not be targetted.

Colors on xwings

I also have a curves adjustment layer to make the ships slightly darker.

Adjustment layers

The X-Wings now have a good and transparent blend with the background.

Problem #4 placement of the X-Wings

I decided to go with the idea of three visible X-Wings on a patrol. It should look like they are flying at a low altitude, and just flying over the woods as I shot the photo.

The third X-Wing would have to be half hidden by the trees to make this work. To make this work I needed a mask for the trees only, to hide the part of the X-Wing that should look covered by trees.

In the latest version of Photoshop CC 15.5 there is a new Masking tool, and using that, I pretty quickly got a usable mask for the trees.

Tree Mask

The new masking tool is accessed by using:

Photoshop new Select and Mask tool'

And putting this mask on top of the X-Wing Group allows me to half hide the third X-Wing behind the trees and the illusion is complete.

Thanks for reading

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also enjoy my latest book “10 Essential Tips for Fine Art Photographers“. What you get from the book, that you don’t get from the blog is the mindset and organized rock solid tips on how to become a Fine Art Photographer producing professional images.

–Jacob

 

Tour de France will start at Saint Mont Michel

I know! It has been a bit quiet lately on my blog. But don’t worry I am working on some goodies. I am working on my next book, which will cover composition. There are a lot of so-called ‘rules of composition’. As I have grown as a photographer, my understanding of ‘rules of composition’ has changed, and I think I have found a good way of understanding and approaching composition.

I am a late bloomer as a photographer, and I think about everything that I do. I have put in a lot of hard work to get to where I am today,  but it is not longer ago than I can still remember what frustrated me in the beginning. Just like my first book ‘10 Essential Tips for Fine Art Photographers‘ (the 50% discount code “Welcome50” is still active), my new book on composition will be the book that I wanted 4 years ago. It will not only cover some theory on composition but also suggest ready-to-cook compositions, making it possible to go out and shoot a great photo using the recipe.

I believe in that you have to build a foundation before going for more advanced stuff. An important part of that is to learn from what others do, not only from a theoretic point of view but also from a practical ready-to-cook point of view. At least that is my belief.

Anyway, I am working on the book, and will try post a bit on my blog too, but time is not unlimited.

About the photo

I shot this photo a couple of years back at Mont Saint Michel in France. It is one of the most fantastic places I have been to, and it is the photographers wet dream. Recently I learned Tour de France would begin from here this year. What an awesome scenery for a start for the world’s biggest cycling race on the planet.

It is an HDR from -3 to +3. I shot it very late in the evening when people were leaving, and this couple just stood there to get a last look at this magnificent building. The Dynamic range in the scene is incredibly high and difficult to control. The spotlights are so bright, and the shadows so dark, that it got quite difficult to blend them together to and get a good balance in lights and shadows.

–Jacob