Colorful Winter Sunset at Saint Lawrence River (Montreal)

This is my contribution to winter photography. Even though I do not really enjoy cold weather, sometimes it results in unique landscapes.

Travel Photography Blog - Montreal, Canada
Canada. Montreal. Lachine
Loc: 45.429813, -73.690427

Shooting

Once again, I went shooting to my favorite place in Montreal (Rene-Levesque Park) which happens to be not far from where I live. I setup my tripod and waited for the moment when the sun was about to hide below the horizon. The light was fairly dynamic and in order to cover the entire range, I shot a series of 9 shots using Magic Lantern firmware add-on. I knew that 9 bracketed exposures were total overkill but I just wanted to cover all my bases. The amazing light lasted 3-5 minutes at most and then it became ordinary and dull.

Processing

Because of the dynamic light and variety of details and textures in my composition, I was planning to merge bracketed shots to HDR using Photomatix. Normally, Photomatix does a great job of emphasizing details and textures but in this case, I just could not get it right in Photomatix. If you check the image on the left, this is the best result I managed to achieve and I was not happy with it. The final image looks too contrasted and “cold”.

Since I have few tools in my arsenal for creating an HDR photo, I gave up on Photomatix and decided to use the luminosity masking technique. This technique gives you more control over the entire process but tends to be more time consuming.

I picked only 3 shots (-2, -1, 0) and blended them together in Photoshop using transparency masks (for more details check my Review: “The Art of Digital Blending”).

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Travel Photography Blog - Montreal. Saint Lawrence River

Processing: Digital Blending with Lminosity Masks

Lightroom: import, tagging, contrast, color correction. I produced 3 separate images and exported them to Photoshop.
Photoshop I opened 3 bracketed photos directly in Photoshop and placed each image on a separate layer. Then, I used luminosity masking techniques to create the final image.

Photoshop Plugins: 

  • Topaz DeNoise was used to reduce digital noise (sky).
  • I used Perfect Effects 9 from onOne Software to enhance details and contrast (foreground elements). I used the following filters: Dynamic Contrast, Color Enhancer.
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