As many of you know, I’ve really gotten the HDR bug. But there are times when I wonder if I’ve overcooked an image. Today was one of those times. Here’s what I’m talking about.
Above – HDR image of Silver Lake, taken with my Sony NEX3, processed in Photomatix and Photoshop CS6.
After I finished processing the image above, I posted it on my Facebook page, and then to Google +. The reception was ok. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if people are just being polite or they really like what’s posted. The reason I’m bringing this up is because I personally wasn’t thrilled with this shot. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but it just seems a little too realistic. Everything is sharp, contrasty, and vivid. Doesn’t it seem strange that I think it could be better without the HDR effects?
Back to the drawing board! Here’s the original image:
Above – Original image, out of the camera except for resizing and watermark, from my Sony NEX3.
As you can see, the original image leaves a lot to be desired. The lighting is flat and uninteresting. There’s also not a lot of contrast or sharpness, but some of this is due to the way I have the camera set. I typically use minimal in-camera enhancements, preferring to make the adjustments on the computer (my personal preference).
Just in case you’re wondering, the settings on my NEX3 are:
- 1/30th second
- ISO 250
- Auto White Balance
Instead of running multiple images (with different exposures) through Photomatix for HDR processing, I brought the original image into Photoshop CS6 and adjusted the contrast, sharpness, color saturation, and gave it a subtle vignette. Here’s the result:
Above – single image from Sony NEX3, processed in Photoshop CS6, non-HDR.
I really think the image above is better than the HDR version at the top of this post. The differences are subtle, but enough to change the feeling I get when I look at it. The non-HDR version seems to better reflect my memory of that warm, beautiful morning when I was out for one of my many walks along the lake’s shoreline (with my 2 Cairn Terriers of course).
That’s it for now, until next time – Happy Shooting!