|Don Smith Photography's Blog|
After the Storm
I arose early following an overnight rain/snow storm in Moab, Utah and headed to the Windows Area of Arches National Park in hopes of a cool sunrise image. The potential for this photo really wasn't realized fully until after capture.
I took a low perspective with my 16-35mmL lens shooting through Turret Arch back at South Window as the dawn sky came alive with vibrant color. These innocuous looking pools served as viable foreground elements allowing for more visual depth and also counterbalancing the dawn sky with their light tones allowing for the eye to move freely through the frame (I feel this foreground would have been too foreboding without them). For some inane reason (lack of caffeine?) I only bracketed two frames, not enough needed for balancing the extreme light differential of this scene, but thankfully, Photoshop came to the rescue!
Double processing the two RAW images I did shoot (twice for the sky, and three times for the slickrock) allowed me five total images (bracketed by one stop) to try a Photomatix Pro High Dynamic Range rendering. Unfortunately, the program did not produce a realistic enough look (something that has become very important to me when working with HDR), so I decided to try combining the images one at a time in Photoshop utilizing layers and masks. This is a time-consuming procedure, but produced a more realistic looking image.
If you are interested in learning more about this technique, please read my September website article HDR the Old-Fashioned Way. If you are interested in purchasing Photomatix Pro, please use my code listed below at checkout for a 15% discount.
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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III