I have already featured San Gregorio Beach in my earlier post where I was standing on top of the hill and pointing my camera South toward Santa Cruz. Today’s photo was taken from exactly the same spot but this time I was facing North with San Francisco lurking behind the mountains. By this time the sky was almost completely covered with thick clouds and the setting sun was blasting through the random holes here and there. It was beautiful.
For this particular shot, I had to use hybrid processing. Initially, the plan was to use traditional approach and process 4 or 5 bracketed shots for HDR in Photomatix and finish it off in Photoshop. Later, when I tone mapped 4 brackets (+2EV was way too overexposed) in Photomatix I was not happy with the result. Somehow, the ocean, the beach and foreground slopes looked great but the sky and the mountains in the background looked over processed and way too contrasted.
I opened 0EV bracket in Lightroom and processed RAW file, concentrating on background elements only, disregarding ocean and beach at all. Then I blended 2 images (one from Photomatix and another one from Lightroom) in Photoshop using transparency masks. This way I got the best of both worlds.
Deconstructing Featured Photo
Camera: Canon 60D
Lens: Sigma 17-70mm
Focal Length: 33mm
Bracketing: 5 shots ( -2,-1, 0, +1, +2 )
Tripod: FEISOL Tournament CT-3442 – Check my FEISOL Tournament CT-3442 Review.
Ballhead: FEISOL CB-40D
Processing: HDR Processed in Photomatix
Lightroom: import, tagging, export to Photomatix
Photomatix: I used only 4 brackets out of 5 original ones to tone map image (-2, -1, 0, +1), 16-bit tiff image was exported to Lightroom. (check my tutorial Before & After – HDR With Photomatix)
Lightroom: straightening, cropping, export as PSD image
Photoshop: cleaning, contrast, vibrance, blending using transparency masks.
- Topaz DeNoise was used to reduce digital noise (sky, water)
- Topaz Detail was used to enhance details in foreground elements (beach, slopes).