Waves – Mahabalipuram Beach (HDR Work Flow)
This is a retreat spot at about 100km from chennai. It’s a long drive along the East Coast Road. This is the first shot that I took of the beach when I reached there. You can see the old temple in the background. My focus here however, were these rocks. And I wanted to bring that out in the image. And so I used the concept of tilt shift to bring the focus on the rocks.
The processing done here is HDR. I took 3 images at -2,0,2ev and merged them using Nik HDR Efex. I have a detailed tutorial on HDR right here. Here I’m just going to quickly go through what I have done to get the Out put.
TOOLS YOU NEED
- Photoshop, I have CS5
- Nik Silver Efex
- Nik HDR Efex
Let’s take a look at the originals first. I mounted my Nikon L120 on my tripod and shot 3 bracket images at -2,0,2ev.
These shots hardly make any sense. There are parts of these three image which are their best. We are going to merge the best parts in one single photo.
So Here’s what I did
1) MERGE IN NIK HDR EFEX
Using photoshop bridge, I loaded the images in Nik HDR EFEX. The plugin will start mixing and churning the 3 image and throw up a flat image which just has the best parts exposed parts of each image in it. I made these adjustments to the image in the plugin.
Hit the “OK” button at the bottom right corner of the screen and the image will be loaded back in photoshop with these changes. At this point the image will look something like this.
You will notice that the sky has some ghosts noise in it (Eeek). What I meant was there are multiples of it in the image. This is one common problem while doing HDR with sky in the Background. It keeps moving and there’s a difference in positioning from one image to another.
I’m going to use the original 0ev shot to correct this. I’ll layer mask the original shot over the HDR image. And paint over the noisy areas with the brush tool to reveal the noise less sky.
Also There’s a lot of unwanted foreground and sky in the background. I’m going to crop it out using the crop tool.
2) BLACK AND WHITE CONVERSION
This was a sudden choice. I rarely do Black and white in HDR images. I some how felt this would look even better in black and white. And for all my black and whites I use nik silver efex. But first I need to merge these layers. To merge layers, hold the ctrl button (cmd for mac) and click on the layers in the layers panel to select them. Then right click and select merge layers
Then I Select the nik silver efex plugin from the filter menu. And I Applied these settings to it.
THAT’S ABOUT IT
Once you hit the OK button you will have the final out put like this.
I quickly went through here describing what setting I had used in the Nik plugins to get the final out put. I have detailed tutorials on HDR processing using Nik HDR Efex and Black and White Processing using Nik Silver Efex. Do take a look.