Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cypress Trees #4, Heron Pond, HDR Test

Once you see it, you can't un-see it - the outline of a sort-of Superman shield on the swamp floor.  This picture is five brackets made in extreme back light conditions (I shot directly into the sun) processed in Nik HDR Efex using a preset I made for the Heron Pond landscapes.  I've settled on this workflow for now:
  • Import pictures into Lightroom 3
  • Export to Nik HDR Efex and process
  • Do easy spotting, light remove sensor dust, and apply lens adjustments in Lightroom 3
  • Sharpen in Nik Dfine
  • Edit in Nik Vivenza, usually to only adjust brightness, structure and contrast no more than 10%
  • Edit in Photoshop CS5 for pixel retouching if needed, tweak levels
  • Edit in Nik Color Efex Pro to add the "CSI Miami" preset
  • If needed, crop and straighten in Lightroom 3

The monochrome is made in Nik Silver Efex Pro using one of my custom blue/sepia split blue tone presets.
This was the first time I used quite a few pieces of new gear in the field that I'd like to mention...

  • The Think Tank Streetwalker Pro camera backpack is pretty nearly perfect.
  • The Really Right Stuff L-bracket fits the D700 perfectly.  It is solid and will not shift.
  • The Acratech GP ballhead is a joy and very flexible.  I used it in gimbal mode more that I though I would.
  • The Acratech Leveling Base is easy to use and very fast to adjust.  The large rubber adjustment knob and level can get in the way of the camera when using the GP in gimbal mode.  I had to rotate the head a couple of times to clear the level.  
  • The Acratech Nodal Rail  is very sturdy.  I found it was long enough to use the Nikon 180mm f/2.8.
  • The Gitzo Basalt Series 2 tripod is light and sturdy.  With the legs fully extended but column down, the camera viewfinder is at my eye level.  I'm 5'11" on the rare occasions that I stand up straight.  

Lens: Nikkor AF-S 50mm f1.4 G 
Camera: Nikon D700
Exposure: ISO 200, five brackets around f/11.0 @ 1/20s, Auto WB, tripod
Lighting: Daylight
Location: Cache River Natural Area, Heron Pond GPS
Dates: Capture - October 29, 2010, Processing - November 1, 2010
Processing: RAW file in Lightroom 3, Nik HDR Efex, Nik Silver Efex Pro


Tetchy Spandrel said...

Is it okay to utilize auto WB with HDR bracketing? In any event, your results are splendid!

Preston Page said...

Hello Tetchy, thank you for the kind words. I usually use Auto WB for landscapes because I like the way Nikon handles it. However, I always shoot RAW and and take a shot of an X-Rite Color Checker Passport, just in case the Auto WB goes way off track. If you need to adjust WB, I'd recommend making a consistent WB change to all the brackets before the HDR processing.
What sort of shooting do you do? I'd love to see your pictures if you'd care to share.