I find it helpful to go back every once in a while and look at some old shots, ones which I used to think were great, especially with HDR photography. Your processing style changes, and hopefully as most people I see for the better. In preparation for getting back out city shooting this weekend, if the awful weather this week holds out, I went back and looked to redo some old shots. One in particular shot of Buckingham Fountain stood out to me:
Now, there are things I like, the water looks great, the buildings are sharp and the composition is pretty good. This was taken with my old trusty D3000 and a Sigma 10-20mm lens @10mm, so it is a very wide shot. What I see is the issue here is it looks too blue and darker than it was out. I was trying too hard to make this looks like a great blue hour picture, I lost a key feature and that is the sky detail, something that HDR processing really can bring out, though sometimes blow out.
So I started from scratch, redoing the WB in Bridge back to a normal look and threw it into Photomatix. Which don’t forget to d/l the update that came out the other day if you use it!! Heading back into Photoshop, I did some quick touch-up work (dirty lens marks mainly and a little levels adjustment).
Here is the end result, almost a year after the original photograph was taken:
A lot cleaner look, I feel, and I am not trying to give the false sense it is later than it really is. The buildings seem crisper in the actual light that I was seeing, and you can see some depth and movement in the clouds.
I have noticed lately in my photography, and maybe it is also a growing and feeling more comfortable with the camera, that less post is generally needed. I am not trying to push bad photographs, and am constantly taking good quality that need less on top. Growing is living and that is what I always say we must do as photographers.
Now something I wish I had back then, and I cannot wait to try out this weekend, is I finally got a 10 stop nd filter (B&W). Cannot wait to try some extremely long exposures.
Have you ever gone back and tried reprocessing a photo, especially for us HDR guys and see how your style has changed? Let me know!