A view from the heavens
Here's the third photo installment of our hot air balloon adventure. 2000ft up in the air in a wicker basket and vulnerable to the elements of nature all one could do was to marvel at the spectacular scenery.
This photo pushed the dynamic range of my camera sensor beyond its limits. Ordinarily in a scene like this where the lighting varies so much it's difficult to capture the full range of light without a tripod and taking multiple photos at different exposures. So to do the best with what you've got:
1) Try to shoot in raw (this will allow greater flexibility when it comes to post processing)
2) Shoot so that your photo is exposed toward the right of the histogram as much as possible being careful not to clip the highlights. (there are many schools of thought on this however me thinks bringing back details from shadows although it causes noise is generally easier than recovering from blown out highlights)
3) In post processing try to recreate what your mind's eye remembers from the scene. I used 2x gradient filters in Lightroom a colder one for the distant mountains in the distance and a warmer one for the sunny foreground after doing the shadows, highlights, white and black adjustments. I then exported the image into Photoshop and used the 'unsharp mask' tool (I still cringe at the name of this tool) to perform general sharpening of the image. Noise reduction software was used to eliminate some of the grainyness from parts of the photo.
Here's the secret part which made the image pop. I used the Lenny K Actions Toolkit to perform dodging and burning with luminosity masks. Luminosity masks allow us to get Photoshop to automatically select the dark and light areas of the picture so that we don't have to manually brush over areas. It allows us to darken/lighten areas around trees/hair/any object with complicated edges in 1 fell swoop of the brush. More about this can be read, and you can download your free copy of the Action here, (www.lennykphotography.com/freebies/free-photoshop-actions/) No signup or any promotional rubbish like that just download it and use it.
Finally a crop was done to finish off the image.
Hope you enjoyed this post and again as always thanks for your support :) it keeps me walking my path of photography and sharing.