Rembrandt Plein

Rembrandt PleinI went to Amsterdam on a business trip in september. One day I got up at 3.30 and walked all the way in from a hotel near by the airport to the center of Amsterdam. I hit the harbor when the sun rose – I have shown one shot from the Amsterdam Maritime History Museum. I took around 1000 shots for HDR that morning. In the beginning it was pitch dark and I had the camera on ISO 400. When the light grew brighter I changed the ISO to 100. I have had a hard time getting satisfied with many of the shots, but I have found that it has to do with getting the right mood in the processing and not as much the photos. This particular one is from ‘the way back’

How did I make this photo?

The photo is shot with a wide angle lens close to the ground. A wide angle lens is great, because it is sharp from very close up and all the way out to the horizon. When I came home and looked at this photo, the great sunlight at the end of the tunnel of trees didn’t come out so well. I have had the photo lying around for half a year, trying a few things, but not managing to achieve the mood from that morning. Finally I figured out, that a soft yellow light at the end of the tunnel of trees had been present, and that it had almost disappeared in the shots. So I emphasized it and that really brought the photo together.

The Royal Stables

The Royal Stables

Right behind the Govermental building Christiansborg lies the Royal Stables. The Queen has got a set of white horses, which apparently are rare, if they have to be really white. The horses stays in the building in the left.

About the processing
This is a typically double tone mapped HDR. I created it from 5 exposures in Photomatix. The double tone mapping gives this much more painterly and surreal style, which works well for some images. The idea of the double tone mapping is that, you first do one HDR photo and tone map it, and the image that you get from that process, you tone map too. This is done by pressing the “Tone mapping” button once more. A side effect of the double tone mapping is, that you get a lot more noise (grain) into the image. You have to clean some of it up, but not all. The noise adds some of the grittyness to the image, which is part of the effect.

The second time you tone map, the colors go crazy, and you have to lower the saturation. The luminosity you also want to bring far down. Exactly how far depends on your photo. But this step is what creates the mood of your photo. Try some of the other sliders, and see how they affect your photo.

I brought the double tone mapped image into Photoshop and did a lot of clean up and some noise reduction here. I took the sky from one of the original shots and masked that in. If you are unsure of how to mask/blend layers in Photoshop, have a look at my tutorial on blending layers.