Silicon Valley from Above

For today’s Before&After post I’ve chosen the photo of Silicon Valley in California, which I took during my last driving trip along California State Route 1. In the background, across San Francisco Bay, you can see Oakland and Union City and in the middle of the frame is Silicon Valley.

Below you can find my Before&After Widget which illustrates 10 editing steps of my workflow.

Before & After Widget

Step 1

I imported 3 bracketed raw images into Lightroom.

Step 2

I processed 3 bracketed raw files in Photomatix using Photomatix Pro Lightroom Exporter.

Steps 3-7

After I finished my edits in Photomatix I brought merged images as a 16-bit tiff file back to Lightroom and applied the following edits.

Steps 8-11

Final touches were performed in Photoshop. I used the following plugins: Nik Color Efex, Topaz Labs Detail, Topaz DeNoise.

In Nik Color Efex Pro I combined 2 filters: Cross Processing and Darken/Lighten Center.
Nik Color Efex Settings:

I used Topaz Labs Detail plugin to enhance details (Preset: Feature Enhancement I) and Topaz DeNoise to eliminate noise, mostly in the area of the sky (Preset: RAW – moderate)
Topaz Labs Detail and Topaz DeNoise Settings:

Final step: the photo was saved as JPG at full resolution and uploaded to my portfolio at SmugMug for safekeeping, sharing and online sales.

by Viktor Elizarov
I am a travel photographer and educator from Montreal, Canada, and a founder of PhotoTraces. I travel around the world and share my experiences here. Feel free to check my Travel Portfolio and download Free Lightroom Presets.