The Tip of the Peninsula

The tip of the peninsula

This one I’m quite anxious about. I have really worked this photo hard and don’t know if I went over the edge and over processed it. The sky was dramatic and had wonderful colors, but I have really extracted them quite brutally, but I do like the result. I think it’s nice.

About processing

It’s an 5 exposure HDR. Just by processing it as an HDR I really get a lot of nice texture both from the rocks and the sky. That’s one thing that HDR and tone mapping is good for. I then used OnOne photo filters to emphasize the sky even more. This I could have done in Photoshop as well, but it’s just easier to use a filter, which is a kind of a template.

The water I have left as the HDR version, which gives this ghosted water, which I sometimes like and other times don’t like. In this case I like it. However, in the lower right hand side corner I merged in the water from the brightest exposure. The brightest exposure has got the longest exposure time and has this wonderful smokey water as you can see.

Before and after

So far so good – but I had a problem. The composition of the original photo had failed, but I did like the sky so much, so what to do? Let’s look at the original:

The tip of the peninsula - before

As you can see quite different from the final photo and much more flat and boring. But look at the stones. The sky is more or less the same, but the stones I have changed … a lot!

#1 The sky is really flat and is nowhere near what it looked like for real. What I have created is not what it looked like, either, but that wasn’t my purpose. Sometimes I make a portrait of reality, and at other times it’s more like a painting I make. This is a painting.

#2 I clean up the photo. There are dust on my sensor – these must be removed. The ship in the horizon; gone too. And the other thing in the water I also removed. I prefer to use Photoshop’s spot removal or the content aware fill to clean up in my photos. The spot removal is good for small spots, and thin lines. Content aware fill is used to remove a larger areas, but I did not use content aware fill in this particular photo. I only used the the spot removal tool.

#3 The stones I stretched a lot. What I did was that I selected the square going from the horizon and down to the bottom. It is easy in this case, because the horizon is straight, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I then used used the Edit->Tranform->Scale feature of Photoshop, and extended the lower part of the photo, until the large boulder in the left hand side of the photo was completely out of the picture. And that helped on the composition. Of cause it would have been much easier to get it right ‘in the camera’ when I shot it, but I failed to do that in this case, and I didn’t want to let go of the sky.

The Frozen Setting Sun

The Frozen Setting Sun

The sun right into the camera? 9 exposures with 1 EV step between each. I was just on a small business trip to New York. I managed to get time to go to B&H and get myself a Promote control. For some reason I can’t buy that in Denmark. The Promote control should be a tool in every HDR photographers backpack.

The Promote control allows (through a cabel) to take as many HDR photos you like. I can then take 9 HDR photos automatically with my Nikon D600 (which is normally limited to 3 shots), just as I can with my Nikon D800. But I can also increase the EV step between each shot. The D800 is locked to 1 EV step, which means that if I really wan’t to cover some dynamic range, with the Sun within the frame and dark shadows too, I have to switch to manual. Another nasty side effect of taken 9 bracketed shots with the D800 is the 675 Mb impact on the memory card (ouch!).

With the Promote control I can take what ever number of photos I like with whatever EV step. Now that is cool, and I can’t wait to get it in use for real.

For this shot I didn’t have the Promote Control yet and took all 9 shots of 75 Mb each.

About the processing
I used Photomatix to tone map the image. Afterwards I have spend quite some time in Photoshop blending layers. The sky kept coming out dull and gray from Photomatix, so I had to mix in another sky from one of the original photos, but it was still too flat. So I made a duplicate layer and started playing around with the Red, Green and Blue channels individually in the Hue/Saturation dialog (CTRL + U) untill I got what I wanted. However, that ruined the lower part of the image completely, but that was not problem, I just mixed in the sky with the rest of the image.

Finally I spend quite a lot of time cleaning up small peckles on the ice and the bridge.

Icy Sunset at Veddelev

Icy Sunset at Veddelev

I was a bit surprised still to find the fiord covered with ice at Veddelev, but I took the advantage of it, and got some close up ice shots. This is from the blue hour after sunset.

About the processing
It is 7 exposure HDR, that I merged and tone mapped using HDR Efex Pro 2. I just got a new laptop and didn’t get Photomatix installed, before going on a business trip to the states, which has forced me into using HDR Efex Pro 2 more intensively. I’m quite satisfied with the results I have been getting, though I feel that it is a little less flexible, compared to Photomatix. While doing realistic HDR photos, it does give quite nice results.

Afterwards I did some Photoshopping. This time I didn’t blend the tone mapped image with the original images. The result from HDR Efex Pro 2 was satisfactory enough. I used a filter in Topaz, just to nudge and pop the colors and details tiny bit. I then used a soft light layer to accentuate various parts to lighten and darken various parts of the photo, by hand painting. FinallyI did some cleanup in the photo.

Lighthouse on the edge

Lighthouse on the edgeLeaning against the fence I was just able to capture all of the light house, thanks to my 14mm lens. I made this from one photo. I tonemapped it using Photomatix and did a version in Lightroom as well. Both images I imported into Photoshop. I have used the Lighthouse, as a non HDR version, but the rest as HDR. I hope you like it done in that a bit unusual way.

Data: ISO 400, 14mm, f4, 1/320