High dynamic range processing opens up many possibilities for digital image enhancement. The question is “how far is too far with HDR” processing? Since I’m new to HDR I thought I’d present one image taken last weekend and processed three different ways in Photomatix and ask my readers which they prefer.
The first image was processed to look as realistic as possible in both Photomatix and Lightroom. I decreased the white balance temperature and overall saturation to remove any warmth from the final image. My goal was to present as much detail in the rocks as possible, even in the shadow areas.
The second image was processed to look somewhat less realistic but still within the realm of possibility. I wanted this image to portray the warmth of the late afternoon sun hitting the remains of the old stone brewery.
The third image is a complete fantasy. I wanted this image to look like a scene from some science-fiction or fantasy movie. To achive this effect I increased the overall saturation and luminosity in Photomatix and decreased the Clarity in Lightroom. This created an interesting glow in the areas hit by direct sunlight.
So, the question is which version do you like best and how far is too far with HDR?