Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Have I Gone Over to the Dark Side???

I'm not sure if the rest of the world is as nutty as I am, but I sure hope so. I've had HDRSoft's Photomatix for a while now and just never got around to playing with it. We were up in Vermont this past weekend and stopped at my favorite stream. (Thank you Dave Middleton) Since I had the tripod set up anyway I figured I'd take a few frames specifically for HDR. The goal was to do a straight, photo realistic, image and see how much detail I'd be able to pull out of a five shot, one stop differential group. Being the serious (yea, right) photographer that I am, I told myself I had no interest in "that postery effect" some people are into with their HDR work. I'm too cool for that, not!!! I do have the image you see here today and a straight version, just to make sure you know I haven't completely gone off the deep end. This was, at least, a two step process. To find out what I did, hit "read more".
Photomatix took me half the way there ("she was a day tripper, ya". Sorry, Beatles song just popped into my head.) Once I maximized the effect in Photomatix I thought to myself that I might be able to push it further and, at the same time, alter a couple of things I didn't like. This was actually "finished" in Photoshop using my "normal" work flow to pull max saturation from any shot. (See just about any other image on this blog and you'll see what I mean.) Once there, the bank on the other side of the stream was about a dayglow green. Looked like an attack of some alien moss creature. It just didn't go with the rest of the image. I got a new layer, took a big ol' soft brush, loaded up a medium deep brown and painted over the offending rocks. A flip of the blending mode to color made things a little more palatable. Then it was a matter of putting a mask on the layer and, using grey tones, selectively bring up or down the intensity of the brown. I don't know if I'm happy with the upper right corner yet. Leave a comment and let me know if you think I need to do a little more work on that section.
My first impression is that Photomatix is a hoot. I'll probably be using it more for straight shots (as straight as HDR images get) rather than falling off the scale on the other side, but I think there's a place to play also. It never hurts to get your hands dirty.
I'm reasonably sure this image will sell. Each year Doris donates one of her prints to the local Relay for Life (a cancer fund raiser). Her day job is at a local company that hosts a yearly hospice fund raiser that includes a silent auction of local art. She showed the organizers this blog and they asked her if I would be willing to submit a couple prints. I think a 24 x 36 might be one for the hospice auction. If nothing else, I'll try for the "if it's that big, it must be good" crowd.


Kathy Marciante said...

Great job! It really brings out all the colors.