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.