An HDR Visit To The Swamp

June 09, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Went on another walkabout this week, this time to try out the Lumix 7 – 14mm f/4 wide angle lens.  Nice piece of glass!

P1020992_tonemapped_grunge

No Gator Molesting
Everglades Holiday Park
June 9th, 2012

No sooner than I left this spot, a gator came up just beyond the water’s edge.

I had initially gone there with the idea of trying out the lens, trying to determine how well of a performer it was, especially at 7mm and wide open.  I was pleasantly surprised by it’s performance, especially corner sharpness.  The problem was that the lighting was nothing short of terrible.  So as it turned out, this outing was more of an enlightenment in post processing techniques than a full blown evaluation of the lens.

As I’ve realized so many times before, sometimes we need to step back and revisit our photographs one or two days later.  Sure enough, I began to get ideas for alternatives in post processing.

 

P1020997_tonemapped Tourist Swamp Boats
Everglades Holiday Park
June 9th, 2012

It occurred to me that running these images through Photomatix 4 as pseudo HDRs might yield some interesting results, and it certainly did.  Immediately the light balanced itself out, but what was most interesting was the detail that came out in the clouds.  Lightroom 4, as good as it is in extracting shadow detail, simply did not bring that out.  Then, purely by accident, I happened to hit the “Grunge” preset in Photomatix, and what I got just jumped out at me.

 

P1030013_tonemapped Cyprus Strands
Chapel Trail Nature Preserve
June 9th, 2012

Now, as is typical with the grunge HDR look, some colors, especially green, are way over-exaggerated.  So I took to Lightroom once again to tone down some of the colors by turning down the luminance in the various color channels, and finally arrived at what is presented here.

I realize that the grunge HDR look is not that popular, and to be honest, I’ve not taken to it very much, but after seeing these results I’ve now realized that  it definitely has a place in my workflow, and I hope to explore it much more in the future.

P1030015-2_tonemapped

Early Sawgrass
Chapel Trail Nature Preserve
June 9th, 2012

The next step will be to print these.  I’ve a feeling that I’m going to like how they turn out, and I’ll definitely comment on this in an update to this post.


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