The main workbench at Limmer & Sons Custom Boots in Intervale, New Hampshire.
When talking to Pete Limmer last fall, he had mentioned that some of those earlier pictures were “very detailed.” I never really found out if that was a good thing, or not, but for this image I thought I’d hedge my bets by presenting a more realistic, less ‘hyper’ image. In fact, I had processed this scene some time ago and kept it on file, but when I opened it up for review, it was sort of an assault on the eyes. So, I reprocessed it completely to come up with this version.
I’m planning to create a new video tutorial soon, titled something like, “Why Photomatix Pro alone isn’t enough.” Often, when trying to come up with a realistic-looking HDR image, Photomatix falls short for me — I find that the output can often be soft. Other programs such as HDR Expose (from Unified Color) or ImageFuser tend to be better choices, although I almost always wind up blending in some Photomatix versions before doing more detailed processing. For this version, I started with the output from HDR Expose, adjusted it using 32-Float, and then layered in a Photomatix tonemap at 24% Normal and a Shadowmap at 22% Hard Light as a base before setting about with other adjustments (brightness, skew, de-fringe, etc.) and filter techniques (Nik Color Efex Pro.)
In the end, I think it created a balance between the high-detail of a very complicated environment, along with a good dose of realism. I also really appreciate Peter and Ken letting me into the back of the shop during working hours to capture this unique scene.