It’s time for yet another before/after comparison + some post processing details (for more comparisons like this one go here), where I share my post-processing workflow. This time – Smreczynski Pond (Staw Smreczynski) a small yet very beautiful lake in Tatra mountains. When I was taking some landscape photos there a group of ducks appeared out of nowhere and with quite a great speed they raced through the lake, hence the title of this photo – Ducks Race.
This time I took 5 exposures at 1 EV spacing, and used manual blending. However, during manual blending I dropped +2 EV exposure because it didn’t provide any improvement to image quality. In this case 0 EV photo is Before and final processed image is After. As you can see the difference isn’t huge. I wanted to keep the final image as close to the original as possible.
Some of you might wonder why did I use manual blending in this case? Well, there is no particular reason. I just want to know various techniques and although I use Photomatix Pro 99% of the time when I process HDR images (because I’m happy with the results) sometimes I just try something different.
- Base photos – all source exposures I used to blend the image:
- 0 EV – I used it as a base
- -1 EV and -2 EV – from these exposures I restored the sky and clouds
- +1 EV – I used this exposure to brighten shadows in the forest a little bit
- Midtones contrast – I increased contrast of midtones a little bit to add some contrast pop.
- Highlights contrast – I decreased brightness of highlights (mainly in the clouds area) and increased contrast there using Curve adjustments layer.
- Shadows contrast – I added some contrast to the darkest parts of the image (mountains, forest, water) and slightly brightened them up. I used Curves adjustments layers for this purpose.
- Highlights contrast 2 – I added even more highlights contrast but this time I simply used Overlay blending mode (which has the effect of increasing contrast).
- Global vibrance – I slightly increased global vibrance to make blues more blue and greens more green.
- Yellows saturation – I increased saturation of yellows (foliage).
- Blues saturation – I further increased saturation of blues.
- Clarity – increased clarity of the image using this technique.
- Sharpening – added some sharpening using high-pass sharpening technique.
- Topaz Clarity – finally I slightly increased clarity using Topaz Clarity.
Finally some EXIF and other technical specs:
Camera: Canon 5D MK III
Lens: Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS USM
Focal length: 24 mm
Exposure time: 1/50 s (“middle” exposure)
Number of exposures: 5
E.V. Step: 1
Flash used: no
Filters: circular polarizing filter
Technique: manual blending, luminosity masks
Software: Magic Lantern 2.3, Lightroom 5.0, Photoshop CC