Oh no, not one more sunset – Yes, but its an HDR sunset
Been shooting some sunsets lately and I am trying out different techniques to make them stand out. I dont intend to show reality as it was at that point in time obviously but I want it to look plausible, not too computer generated.
This photo is from the same shooting session as my previous post but from another angle and 15 minutes before. For this particular view I took three photos with different exposure time – 1 second, 1/4 second and 1/15 seconds respective.
Next I created a new HDR-image in Luminance-HDR (great free software). Using the operator Mantiuk ’06 and some tweaking of contrast, saturation and detail factor, as well as changing the Pre-gamma setting to a lower value, the output looked like this.
Its not bad at this stage but if you compare to the final image above, it lacks some contrast and saturation. At least that is what I think. Therefore, as a final step I loaded it into Photoshop and:
- Made it more saturated and sharper by:
- duplicating the base layer
- setting the new layers blending mode to Soft light
- adding an unsharp mask to the new layer
- Added a Curves layer and dragged the curve to lighten darker colors and darken lighter colors (to tone down the sun a bit)
- Added a new empty transparent layer. Using a large, soft brush with a opacity and flow setting of 35 I added some extra color to the sky and snow.
- Added a new botton layer, enlarged the canvas by 2 centimeters and filled the layer with black to create the frame.
- Added a layer for my signature
Thats it. All in half an hours work. What do you think? To much contrast – color – good – crap – fantastic?