Photo Submitted by Dan Miller
Today I saw Dan post a sunset photo from last night and I felt like it had serious potential. I asked him if he would share the original files with me so I could have a go at it. Dan’s processed image is below.
Go check out more of Dan’s photos on his blog, http://mydaysinfocus.com/
Dan used Photomatix for his HDR processing. For whatever reason, my version of Photomatix didn’t like the files and the image was turning out pink. I also tried HDR Efex Pro, but the image wasn’t to my liking. Since Dan gave me 3 RAW files, I was able to use another technique, for extending the dynamic range of an image, called exposure blending.
I’ve never read a tutorial or seen a video explaining the proper way to do this technique, but after hearing a few photographers talk about using the luminosity blending mode, I was able to figure out what they’re doing.
Basically, I took the 3 exposures and used the middle exposure as my background. Then I set the other 2 exposures to luminosity blending mode and masked in the areas that I either wanted to be darker or lighter. Its a good way to extend the dynamic range without looking like an HDR.
I also used Color Efex Pro4 to bring the image to life. Pro Contrast was used at two separate points in the workflow to make the image pop. Detail extractor was used on the boats and hotel to brighten and bring back detail. Tonal Contrast was used to bring out a little color and detail in the water and boats.
Finally, I had to crop the image. The horizon down the middle of the image doesn’t usually make for a good composition. I cropped so the horizon was around the lower third of the image.
If you’d like to see what I can do to your image, click above on submit your photo to find out the details.