Anyone who’s been following the blog for any amount of time has probably noticed that I’m, typically, not very subtle with the colors in my images. Most are “in your face” type of bold colors and some people have said “it’s his style”. That really bugs me. I’d much prefer not to have “a style”. Even though every image is different, if you have a style there gets to be a sameness about all your shots. When I’m looking at images by other photographers on Flickr, Landscapes 2.0, other sites or those sent in to the gallery I find I’m drawn to those that have a soft (colorwise), pastel look to them. A lot of “broad vista” type shots show this treatment, not the garish colors found in my images. Today is the start of some experimentation on my part. I want to find out why to get that “look”. Not to head in a different direction from the path I’ve been on, but as something to add to the bag of tricks at hand. Today’s image is on the lovely little town of Marigot, Saint Martin in the Caribbean. Lately, each time we visit the island we do a little day trip to Marigot to wander around the downtown area, have lunch and shoot the harbor area. As we were walking toward the harbor after having lunch the ladies stopped to do some shopping. I thought this street scene might make an interesting HDR subject. I set the camera to auto bracket seven shots. Everything from -3 to +3 at one stop increments. The heavy clouds over the hillside weren’t blocking the sun on the downtown area, so the shutter speeds (I shot in Aperture Priority Mode) were high enough so the burst lasted just a tad more than one second. To see what I tried in Photoshop CS5, hit the “read more”.
I used Adobe Photoshop CS5s HDR Pro to assemble the seven shots. It looked like a typical HDR image. Even with the high shutter speeds there was some movement in the swaying palms. A tap of the Remove Ghosts checkbox and the palm frond snapped right in. CS5’s HDR Pro does an amazing job of selecting one shot to use as the reference to base the deghosting on. I played with the sliders until I got a good enough image to bring into Photoshop for finishing.
This is the point where I tried something new. I used Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers to saturate each color (Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, and Magenta) as I do in my “normal” workflow. The added twist was to push the Lightness slider on each color to 90 (except Green, that one would only go to 70 before losing too much color). This produced a much “lighter” image than my typical, highly saturated, work. It’s not where I’m interested in to being yet, but not bad for a first try.
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