Ask and you shall receive!
My friend Mark (the famous K-Man) asked if I’d explain a little more about how I processed the landscape image from my Autumn Comes to Southeast Texas post and show some before and after images. Cool! Mitch also commented that I must have put a lot of effort post processing this image and though I’d love to take credit for grueling hours of tedious pixel by pixel manipulation, it just ain’t so folks (as my wife and kids like to say here in Texas).
My first step was to take three bracketed exposures at 0, -1.5 EV and +1.5 EV with my Canon 40D hand-held (works fine if you’re using an image stabilized lens and have plenty of light to work with). My objective was to get three exposures as quickly as possible to eliminate any movement of the clouds or trees while obtaining exposures that encompass as much dynamic range as possible. Basically filling the histogram from left to right completely.
I then exported these three RAW images from Lightroom into Photomatix Pro where they are merged to create the HDR image. This is then tonemapped in Photomatix Pro to increase the contrast, add saturation to the highlights and shadows and to lower the overall luminosity. Once the tonemapped image looks fairly decent I import it back into Lightroom and make any final adjustments before exporting it into Noise Ninja to clean up any remaining noise.
This entire post capture process takes about three minutes and this is the result! Software, Oh how I love thee…