HDR Photography and More by Dave DiCello

Blinded by the light

You know how sometimes when you are out shooting you get home and say to yourself, “I literally do not like any of shots”?  Some may be ok, but most are just like “Eh”.  But then there are the times (at least for me being a primarily HDR photographer) that it’s almost like I want to hurry up and get home and cut the photowalk short because I just want to start processing my images, I am that excited about that.  My little walk on Mt. Washington a few weeks ago was like that, and this shot in particular.

So my last post featured a candid I took as I was wrapping up the early part of my walk, before dinner and this one wraps up the end of the night.  I have been on Mt. Washington countless times since I got my camera and never once noticed this glowing red cross on the church on Grandview.  I’m not sure if it’s because I never really am down this far on Grandview or if I just never looked at it, but when I was walking back to my car, I knew I had to get a shot of it.  Luckily there was still a fair amount of traffic coming through, so I was able to get a nice light trail going through the frame as well.  One of my favorite parts of the shot is the reflection of the light trails along the railing on the right.  I didn’t even notice it at first when I was looking at the shots on the LCD, but as soon as the HDR popped up I noticed them.  I’ve included the selective color version below and am open to suggestions and opinions as to which one you like better.

This a 5 exposure (-1 to +3) HDR processed with Photomatix with all additional edits done in Photoshop CS5.  The first thing I had to do was tonemap the +3 exposure to help lighten the church and then do a light mask on it (25%), as the HDR process made it a little too dark for my liking.  I also used the +2 exposure to mask in some of the light trails, mainly on the left had side of the frame, to give them a more continuous look.  The bright yellow sign was blown out from the +3 exposure, so I used the -1 exposure to recover some of the lost details there.  Next, I added a Pro Contrast filter in Color Efex and a blue curves layer to make the sky a little more vibrant.

To get the selective color, I did a SelectàColor Range and picked all the reds, oranges and yellow, minus the sign in the foreground.  I then used Silver Efex to convert to do the black and white conversion.

That about wraps it up today.  See you again tomorrow.

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16 responses

  1. This is really outstanding, Dave.
    I like the full color best, but both images are very nice.

    I know what you mean about wanting to get back and process. There are always surprises, things we never noticed while taking the shot (good and bad).

    May 17, 2011 at 6:34 am

    • Definitely Jimi! Somtimes you just get so caught up in shooting, you don’t even see the whole scene wheil yo uare standing there because you are so focused on the aperture and composition and making sure you are bracketing and everything else. Thanks for stopping by!

      May 17, 2011 at 6:47 am

  2. Nice light rails Dave, I think I like the B&W with the SC best, nice work

    May 17, 2011 at 8:17 am

  3. Nice job Dave. I love all the different layers of lighting in these shots.

    May 17, 2011 at 9:57 am

  4. Love the way the b&w came out here Dave. Great job, I love the selective color!

    May 17, 2011 at 10:09 am

    • Thanks Jason! I was inspired to do one after your shots last week!

      May 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm

  5. That black and white is really really cool. Love the color one too, but the BW…

    May 17, 2011 at 10:10 am

    • Thanks a lot Aaron! I couldn’t decide which one I liked so I had to upload both!

      May 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm

  6. nice work Dave! I’ll go with color but great idea on the use of SC, and well done!

    May 17, 2011 at 10:39 am

  7. The b/w shot almost looks like some good vs bad movie with the way the cross is all lit up. Crazy cool photos man.

    May 17, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    • Thanks Chris! I should have gone more “Sin City” with the processing! Maybe I’ll crack it back open tonight!

      May 17, 2011 at 1:12 pm

  8. I think the color works better, especially the way the water drops reflect and diffuse it.

    May 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm

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