Unexpected Surprise

Pewetole island at Sunset
This was shot after what I felt was a disappointing session further down the beach, getting photos I wasn't happy with and feeling a little discouraged. More on that part in a later blog post. So I packed up my stuff, stuck my earphones in and was trudging back to the car when I for some reason decided to turn around. I'm glad I did! It was dusk and the light was fading fast so i had little choice but to hand shoot the seven brackets that make up this HDR. I generally don't like people in my landscape photos, but the more I looked at them in the final version here the more liked them. And they help convey scale. I like how the over exposed brackets bring in just a hint of color and texture from Pewetole Island, but isn't too bright.

In terms of shooting and processing: As I said the brackets were handheld with an aperture of f4.5. Shutter speeds varied from 1/10 of a second to 1/640. As I normally shot in Aperture Priority mode (I adjust the Aperture, the camera adjusts shutter) I just needed to change the drive mode to my standard seven shots to get a spread of +/- 3EV. I cleaned them all up in Topaz DeNoise then sent them to Photomatix for the HDRing. I'm not sure if I've mentioned it here, but HDR processing tends to leave photos looking rather flat, or at least that is my goal. When processing in Photomatix I typically think of the finished photo to be a steady base to work on. Photomatix has tools that would allow me to punch up saturation or play with contrast, but I have other tools that do it better. For this shot those tools were Topaz Clarity, my favorite, Topaz Adjust, and then finished off in Topaz Detail.

When the shot came back from Topaz I needed to adjust the white balance as there was a blue cast to everything. I used Aperture's white balance dropper in the sand to warm things up, then used the Skin Smoothing brick to smooth things out in the sky.

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