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Safe Harbor

Unfortunately life is not a safe harbor like the ship is in and HDR photography is not a process through some software (Photomatix) and it is ready to post either.

This shot is a 3 shot HDR (+2,0,-2) but once the shot has been put through your HDR software the process has really just begun. Here is my post processing technique for this shot:


Post Processing:

>All 3 shots are shot in Raw

>All 3 shots are brought into Adobe Camera Raw

>Black sider defaults to 5, that is set to 0

>I check all shots for the same White Balance and Tint (Most shots I have set the White Balance for in this case it is set to shadow

>Sharpening is also preset to 25, this is also moved to 0 and a slight noise reduction is applied

>All 3 shots are saved as 16 bit tiff files

>All 3 shots are processed through photomatix (Detail Enhancer)

>I reset default settings in Photomatix and adjust accordingly (All HDR's are different) please look at Exif info for settings)

>Once again photo is saved as 16 Bit Tiff file


Processing in Photoshop CS-5:

>In this shot the -2EV sky was brought in and Masked and painted over the HDR sky that came out less than pleasing. This also removed some haloing effect from the HDR processing which can happen quite often around poles and lines. In this photo that would be the masts and lines. Also in this case it was a dark smear around those that were less appealing than the sky. So all were replaced and blended in with the -2EV.

>Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0-Pro Contrast for color correction and any added contrast

>Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0-Tonal Contrast for any areas I may want to bring out with more detail and texture (Note: These 2 Nik plugins are not always used but I do run the photo through and see if I like the corrections made. I can either lower opacity if I like what has been done but would like a little less or I can mask and only use in certain areas that I did like with a brush and blend technique)

>Lab Color Enhancement with Curves for Lightness, A & B Channels. This will usually enhance color and lightness, once again I can lower opacity to taste.

>Adjustment Layers-Photo Filter- I use this to enhance color of sky or water. Only used in areas I want to enhance and often Masked to selectively use in this photo it was used on the sky only.

>Adjustment Layer-Curves-In this shot I enhanced the brightness of the boat and dock a little of the lighthouse. These seemed dark to me from the processing through photomatix and I wanted those areas to pop more. Once again a Mask is used and a brush tool is used to paint in the areas I wanted to enhance with the curves.

>Adjustment Layer-Curves again-This time same technique as above but I wanted to darken the birds flying through the photo.

>Once the photo is where I want it I Flatten the image

>I will duplicate the image again with (Command J for Mac users) and remove all dirt or spots from lens and sensor. HDR photo's have a tendency to bring out every spot on lens or sensor.

>I will then sharpen- I mostly use Topaz InFocus

>Noise removal-More times than not on a clear sky such as this I will remove the noise from the sky only. This is used with Noise Ninja Plugin.

>I once again will save final image before cropping.


That is pretty much my work flow for HDR processing that I get emailed on. I hope you find this helpful.


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Taken on December 27, 2011