Upload & Sell: Off
I found a set of three images from a Canyonlands National Park trip (a tree on the trail heading back from False Kiva), and decide to try my hand at merging the exposures.
I'm looking for an image that has good exposure of the background and foreground, but also has a little 'pop' to stand out. I'm going to show the original image at 0 EV, then a tweaked version of that image to lighten some shadow, then the HDR version of the three images (at -1, 0, and +1 EV).
I should point out that I am HDR n00b, and I'm using the trial version of Nik Software HDR Efex Pro 2. I've never had success with Photomatix or the HDR tool in Photoshop CS6 (with both tools I get excessive noise in lighter areas).
The purpose here is to see if I can process a single exposure well enough, or if HDR may be a better option.
Here's the original image, straight-out-of-camera at 0 EV:
Here's the original image, processed in Adobe Bridge by bumping shadows up to 100 and saturation tweaked a bit for more 'pop':
And here's the HDR image (at -1, 0, and +1 EV):
I don't think any image is a keeper, since the composition is wrong IMHO. I should have moved so that the buttes in the background are to the right rather than in the centre. But I was walking up the hill and stopped to rest, and that is when I noticed the tree and fired off three quick shots before catching up to the family who were way ahead of me.
Personally I like the processed non-HDR image, if not the execution. By removing the shadows on the tree I have lightened the sky too much. I prefer the contrast between the rock and darker sky in the HDR image.
But the HDR image is lacking as well. It looks over-saturated, and there are halos around the top of the tree.
However, this is my first serious attempt at HDR, so maybe I'm doing it wrong and there are some tweaks that can be performed. Or maybe there are tweaks to processing the original image that can produce a better result.