Saturday, October 23, 2010

Three Ducks, Forest Park, HDR Redux

I've been going over some of my earliest digital efforts to see if I can improve the quality.  The first processing version of this picture got a heavy handed Lightroom 1.0 cyanotype conversion.  I liked it at first, but the contrast was too high and vignette too sharp.  This update is derived from the color version below processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro starting with neutral, then applied the orange filter, blue toner and 20% vignette.

Because the original shot was a little over exposed, processing it in Nik HDR Efex just to do the HDR tone mapping helped pull extra detail out of the ducks and water highlights, giving it that underexpose Kodachrome look.  I'm finding that single image HDR processing can solve some difficult exposure problems.  Further processing in was done in Nik Dfine, Vivenza and Pre-Sharpener.  Some distracting objects were removed and levels optimized in Photoshop CS5.

This is the first version, posted here on February 6, 2008.  Processing was entirely in Lightroom 1.0.  As I boosted contrast to pick up detail in the ripples, the ducks started to burn out.  

Finally, this is the straight image, right out of the camera.  The light was very flat and the shot is over exposed by nearly 1 stop.  This JPEG actually looks better than the RAW.  At the time I was using the Nikon "Program" mode, which I have since abandoned.  I was thinking very much about converting to a pictorial monochrome as I shot. 

Lens: Nikkor AF 24-85mm f2.8-4 IF 
Camera: Nikon D100
Exposure: ISO 200, 85mm @ f/6.7 @ 1/160s, Auto WB @ 4500K, tripod, RAW
Lighting: Daylight 
Location: A lagoon in Forest Park, St. Louis, MO
Date: Capture - 2007-10-20, Processing - 2010-10-23
Processing: Lightroom 3, Nik HDR Efex, Nik Silver Efex Pro, Photoshop CS5 

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