I have been playing around with HDR processing in Photoshop, and frankly, I haven’t been super fond of the results. Some have been okay, but not really what I am looking for. I am not (usually that is) looking to go over the top with tone mapping or super intense vibrance and saturation. Really, I am looking to increase the range of the image across the board — get closer to the image I saw when I snapped the shutter.
I am starting a process of evaluating other HDR options — first up is Photomatix Pro. At first, I immediately felt like I had more control, but my initial results were just not blowing me away. After working with this image of the dawn sun illuminating Garden of the Gods, and then taking it back into Photoshop for some additional work, I think I have an image I am pretty happy with. Usually, I know when I come back to it in a couple of days. What do you think? What HDR software do you use? I appreciate your thoughts.
This is a 3 image HDR, processed in Photomatix Pro. Source images were bracketed at +/- 2 exposure stops at f/25. Enjoy!
Some rocks formations in Garden of the Gods are the most popular ones with visitors and tourists. The Balanced Rock (subject for a later date) would be one of them. The Siamese Twins formation is another. Unlike the Balanced Rock, however, you cannot just drive up to this one. It requires a short uphill hike to get to it. It is worth every step of the journey!
The twins rise, almost in perfect unison, above the surrounding land and at the correct angle, you can see Pike’s Peak through the window! This is a merged image of two separate photos. Even with a wide angle lens, unless you have an extreme wide angle, it is nearly impossible to get this point of view and still get both of the towering twins into the image. If you are visiting Garden of the Gods, take this hike and watch the sunrise and illuminate both Pikes Peak and the twins. One of the best views in the city! Enjoy!
Another from the series of shots I took this past Friday at Garden of the Gods. This is Kindergarten Rock as seen from the Ridge Trail, near it’s apex. I love the detail in this old rock, and how she glows in the early morning sun. The passing clouds are just icing on the cake. Enjoy!
This week, with each passing morning as I got ready to head off to work, I would see the wonderful sunrise and think to myself, “Why didn’t I get up early and try to capture this?” Finally, I had grown tired of missing out on these sunrises and headed out early Friday morning. I am fortunate that I can get to Garden of the Gods, one of the most photographed places in the city, catch the sunrise and still be at work on time during this time of the year.
One of my favorite places to go in Garden of the Gods in the Ridge Trail loop. It weaves around the southern part of the central garden area, and in many places, you are in the midst of some of the best rock formations in the park. As it turned out, most of the interesting clouds were north of the park, so this trail was perfect, as it put the rocks between the camera and the clouds. It was time for the sun to come up and paint another glorious day.
It was a wonderful sunrise, yet it all ended too soon. This is one of a series of shots I took today. I really liked the play of the two towers – the red sandstone on the left seeming to glow in the sunrise while the back side of the limestone of the right is stuck in shadows but yearning for the same level of attention. The clouds, which are losing their pre-dawn glow seem to favor the red sandstone as they move off to the east.