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optimus prime's evening resting spot | emerald lake, ca | by elmofoto
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optimus prime's evening resting spot | emerald lake, ca

On Sunday evening I set out to take some late afternoon/sunset shots. As I was driving back from the spot where I had just shot 300+ HDR source images, I spotted this shiny dumptruck by the side of the road. Shooting this allowed me to put the versatility of my tripod to good use -- I had to adjust one leg out so that I could get a lower angle for the shot. So yes, like a fool I was on the asphalt in a very contorted position trying to get a shot. I have to say that I'm very careful when I shoot while crouching/lying down on the asphalt. I'm hoping being careful (and perhaps lucky) allows me to get good shots without getting run over. This is a blend of seven source images. Here's the process:


My recipe for this shot:

1. I started with 7 source images, which I processed in Photomatix Pro and exported to a 16-bit TIFF file.

2. I imported the TIFF into Lightroom and basically just did spot removal and lightly reduced the noise before exporting it to JPEG.

3. Next I opened the JPEG in Photoshop and used the Unsharp Mask filter, which brought out some of the detail in the grill of the truck really nicely. After that, I added my border and logo and voila' it was ready for upload!

4. I sat on the file for about 18 hours and looked at it a few times before deciding to post it. I've been doing this more and more with images that have heavy HDR characteristics.


I realized early on that once I've been working on an image for some time, I am too invested to be objective about whether it's good, bad, too HDR-heavy or not enough. Revisiting images with a fresh eye is my reality check. It's been working pretty well too.


In case you're interested, this photo was also uploaded to 500px, where it has been much more successful than I expected (images I upload over there seem to be hit or miss). This was definitely a hit, which was a nice but unexpected surprise.



Thanks for your visit, and for any comments, critique and favorites. Please feel free to add notes to any of my images.


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=> All of my HDR photos can be found here.


=> IF you're interested in learning about HDR, I suggest you also check out Trey Ratcliff (Flickr handle: Stuck in Customs). Trey is widely considered an HDR guru/expert/pioneer. His website has a few free basic instructional videos on how to create HDR images, as well as information on how to learn more advanced techniques.


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168 faves
Taken on April 29, 2012