This week’s image is something completely different.
I spent the first part of the week in Brighton, on the South Coast of the UK. There’s nothing quite like a winter visit to the seaside. This is the first time I have been to Brighton and I loved it.
I did try a few shots whilst I was there but the weather wasn’t conducive. And to be honest, my heart wasn’t in it. I enjoyed taking a few snaps, but what I enjoyed more was playing around with them in post-processing.
If you have visited my YouTube channel in the past couple of days, you might have seen my video using On1 Photo RAW 2018. Following the video, I have been experimenting more with the software and I really like some of the effects. This one uses the Bleach Bypass filter together with some tone and colour adjustments. I think the effect quite suits the clear hard light you see in winter at the seaside.
If you read my newsletter on Lenscraft you will know that I’m working on a new book about HDR. You might find this odd if you know me well; following a brief fling with HDR back in 2007 I decided I didn’t like the technique and have been quite vocal about it. As a Landscape Photographer, I find unrealistic techniques make me cringe.
So what’s changed? In short, my understanding and skill with some of the software tools.
The image above which is from one of the worked examples in the book is a case in point. These images were shot on a Canon 5D and at the time I couldn’t tame the dynamic range with filters. I shot the sequence in the hope that one day I would be able to produce a realistic looking HDR image from them.
Well I think that time may be getting closer. The image isn’t yet quite as I would like it but it’s certainly appealing and doesn’t suffer from some of the obvious HDR signs that make me cringe.
And the software used for this? Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 – best of all it’s free.
The trick to making this approach work is to keep the Detail setting to “Realistic” when Tone Mapping. Also set the Depth to “Normal” and Drama to “Deep”. As you process the image be sure to increase contrast selectively as well as darken shadows. Once you have completed the Tone Mapping step it’s worth the image into Viveza where you close the shadows down and apply additional contrast if necessary.
It takes a little practice and feels as though you are engineering the HDR look out of the image. It’s time consuming but I think it’s worth the effort.
I’m sure some of the regular readers will recognise the image above as I have posted it in the past. My reason for posting it again here is to let you know that the image processing fact sheet to accompany this is now available for free download from the Lenscraft website.
The factsheet explains a little about how the image was captured and then describes the post processing techniques I used to produce the final version above. If you want to see the starting image, it’s also in the factsheet.