<<< o >>>the sky rolled down 9 comments + add yours

I've still got quite a few shots to post from my trip to Austin (TX) but thought I'd post this one first. It's one of two images I shot yesterday, both of which were taken on Blackpool beach: facing south towards the South Pier. And in case you're wondering about the processing ... I was out shooting with a one-to-one client who wanted to learn more about shooting and processing HDR images so shot a range of brackets, including a few like this one that included the sun.

When I ran this sequence through Photomatix though I wasn't especially happy with any of the tone mapped variants I came up with so decided to manually blend three of the original exposures (the darkest shot, two EV lighter, and two EV lighter again). The net result is a rather moody, dark image, but given that the sky contained a lot of interesting detail I'm happy with the end result.

If you hover your mouse over the 'show the original' link (bottom-right of the image) you'll see the three shots I used to construct the final version.

focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
image editor
plugins (etc)
10.12am on 10/2/11
Canon 5D Mark II
EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
1/8000, 1/2000, & 1/500
Camera Raw
Photoshop CS5
3x2 + fylde coast [scenic] + show the original
comment by Christiane Nicely at 04:08 PM (GMT) on 11 February, 2011

Very dramatic! It's like beginning of doomsday in Blackpool!! ... ;-)

comment by brooks at 04:12 PM (GMT) on 11 February, 2011

Very good. I must say, I think as a rule I definitely prefer blended exposures as to HDR these days. I can't remember the last time I put something through photomatix and was happy with the result. This is a great case and point.

comment by djn1 at 04:18 PM (GMT) on 11 February, 2011

Thanks Christiane.

Brooks: I still use Photomatix, particularly when the light are dark areas are distributed throughout the scene, but for shots like this I think I prefer manual blending as a) it's relatively straightforward to do, and b) can often result in a more dramatic and plausible image.

comment by Carlos Garcia at 04:56 PM (GMT) on 11 February, 2011

What a pleasant surprise! Yes, a "brooding" kind of image, but in a fantastic sort of way. Beautiful.

comment by Hazel Edmunds at 07:12 PM (GMT) on 11 February, 2011

Amazing...love it... :)

comment by Dan Kaufman at 02:40 AM (GMT) on 12 February, 2011

Excellent B&W !!

comment by Robert at 03:30 AM (GMT) on 12 February, 2011

I'm going to fall squarely in the manual blend camp. Brooding, yes. I still think it does a good job of portraying the sun through the clouds view that's bad for the eyes but fun to look at anyway.

comment by Jessica Sweeney at 11:43 PM (GMT) on 12 February, 2011

Quite an arresting image. What is that figure on the right? It resembles a person, but looks much too large, proportionally speaking.

comment by Pau Blasi at 09:43 AM (GMT) on 14 February, 2011

I love this HDR because it has a natural result, not those artifacts that appear when using this technique in an excessive way. Great work!