Daily Image - Jan 2011 Archive - sonofjohan

With all the hurrah about the advantages of HDR photography, something I truly appreciate and enjoy doing, I thought I'd illustrate another way of accomplishing the same thing with a single image using nothing more that a series of curves adjustment layers followed by a flattening of the image. This began as a rather dark image with respect to the hillside with the trees and red rock, so much so that all you could see was a hint of a muddy dark reddish-brown blotch. Additionally, all the rock in the bottom half of the mountain was a dull bluish tone that revealed litle detail. By making an overall curves adjustment to lighten the image, and then masking out the area which I didn't want affected, I first brought out the detail in the trees and red rock. Then that approach was repeated to affect the snow that needed brightening as well as the gray rock at the bottom of the image. I then switched opacity levels and darkened the rocks just a bit to add additional detail. Finally a third adjustment was made to bring out the detail in the base of the mountains again masking out those areas that didn't require the assist. The result is quite close to what you would achieve when employing HDR software but with having to purchase that software. Plus you have the advantage of not creating something that doesn't look real when real was your goal. All very simple and easy although it does require a bit more work and concentration than does simply letting the software do it for you. ISO 400; 1/320 sec @ f / 13.