Tahiti? No, San Clemente.

Yesterday I met up with about 40 other photographers at the San Clemente Pier in California. This was a photowalk organized by world-famous Trey Ratcliff, renown as one of the foremost authorities on HDR photography. Trey also posts his work on Flickr and can be found here as Stuck in Customs.


This was my first official photowalk and rendez-vous with photographers I've never met in person. I'd have to admit that while I found it somewhat awkward at first it turned out to be fun. I met some really cool photog peeps and I hope to see them again!


Trey started with an intro / overview of what we were going to do, then we all carried our tripods down by the pier and observed Trey set up for one of his famous shots and explain why he chose particular compositions. He went out of his way to talk with each of the scores of people that rallied for this event. Also, he was generous enough to answer any questions we had, regardless of skill level, and let us look through his Nikon D3S that had a NIKKOR 12-24 mounted on it.


We hung out after the sun set and ate pizza.


As for the HDR processing of this photo... I need some help. I've only done a couple of these. While I'm somewhat satisfied with the result I'm frustrated with the ghosting around the umbrella, and sun appears oversaturated to me. I think I could probably remedy some of this in Photoshop, but I use Photoshop Elements and I have figured out how to properly do masking. Any other suggestions on how to improve this one? Please? Thank you!


An update on the HDR processing... I took the suggestions from d_butch and Colin Gilbert and lightened up the sky and removed [some of] the haloing. I left the lens flare dots because I kind of like them in there! Phew, this HDR processing is tedious. I'm normally accustomed to downloading my photos in RAW, adjusting the white balance, maybe slightly adjusting the vibrance, then I'm done! But HDR processing requires additional effort.


    See the recent post. I isolated the umbrella with Topaz Remask 2 and put the isolated part on top of the original. I then used the clone stamp to fill in the region under the umbrella edges with the sky background, smoothed it with the healing tool, made the umbrella layer visible and the halo is pretty much gone. Very quick and dirty. Could be a lot better. I also clone stamped out two red dots ... one in the sky left of the umbrella and one under the umbrella. What do you think? With an hour of work this could be done perfectly. The EASY way to do it is just regenerate the HDR with the "strength" bar pulled left and the "smoothing" bar pulled right You can also "paint" with a mask layer using the original image layers before generating the HDR with the HDR itself on the top layer. Well, there are about a zillion ways to do this and no one is "the right way". Enjoy. But be prepared to spend some $$ on software.

    PS: You can also paint a less intense layer lnto the top layer to solve the sun problem. I don't know anything about elements and very little about Photoshop (only a 10 year user) but you just might have to "take the plunge".
  • Colin Gilbert 5y

    One issue with HDRs is that they tend to make the sky the same value as everything else, when in reality it should usually be the brightest area. I've heard Trey talk about mixing in the sky from one of the original images at 50% to brighten it up. I've never gone to the trouble, personally, and it's probably not something that can be done with Elements, but it's something to keep in mind.

    As for halos, I sometimes just use the burn tool, set to highlights, on a low percentage, but I don't know if you could do that in Elements either.

    I really like this shot, though. It's a very satisfying composition.
  • izis_monica 5y

  • Trey Ratcliff 5y

    Very cool result - interesting how you surrounded the umbrella with the clouds - good idea!
  • Greg Jordan 5y

    Thanks for the comments!
  • Joseph Sparks 5y

    Looks like paradise to me :-) Love the shot, great processing.
  • Lauren Blackwell 5y

    I like it--nice colors and composition. What a treat to shoot with Trey Ratcliff!!
  • iainsimmons 5y

    Very cool. Caught your link on Trey's Buzz!

    And great to see the community surrounding HDR growing and supporting each other.

    Keep it up!
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Taken on January 27, 2010
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