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.
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:
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.