Sunrise Over Kailua (Hawaii)

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This is another photo from my scenic Lanikai Pillbox Trail sunrise hike in Hawaii (O’ahu). This time, I was shooting toward the North with the town of Kailua below.

At the top of the trail, just when you reach the mountain ridge, there are two old WWII military bunkers (pillboxes). The bunkers were abandoned after the war and are now popular lookout points among the hikers.

I climbed to the top of one of the two bankers and set up my tripod. Now, if you check the right side of the mountain, which I placed in the foreground of the composition, you can see the second bunker where someone is sitting on its roof and enjoying the view.

Hawaii. O'ahu. Kailua
Hawaii. O’ahu. Kailua
Loc: 21.387095, -157.717726

Shooting and Processing

There was nothing special about shooting the scene. Shooting on a tripod, I selected a longer exposure (1/25 sec) in order to get a smooth effect of the moving grass in the foreground. Actually, I took another shot with the shutter speed at 1/125 sec but it did not look as good as the version with blurred grass.

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with the new technique of sharpening photos. In my current workflow, I sharpen images at the end of my processing in Photoshop. First, I apply sharpening, using the Topaz Detail plugin and, at the very end, just before saving the photo as the final JPEG, I apply noise reduction using Topaz DeNoise.

The issue with using any sharpening tools is that they always introduce extra noise, which is sometimes impossible to fully eliminate in the noise reduction step.

The technique I am testing right now is somewhat counterintuitive because it employs Topaz Details and Topaz DeNoise together to sharpen the photos. When I am fully comfortable with the new workflow, I will most likely create a tutorial dedicated to this technique.

For the processing I used a Lightroom preset based workflow, using one of the presets from my Landscapes Collection (you can always download free presets here).

Processing: Lightroom Preset Based Workflow

Lightroom: import, tagging, contrast, color correction, cropping, export to Photoshop.
Photoshop: contrast, color correction.

Photoshop Plugins: 

  • Nicholas Ramsey says:

    I’m curious where you used Photoshop’s stamp tool? I can’t see evidence toggling between the before and after photos.

    • Nicholas, my apologies, the reference to the Stamp Tool migrated from another post by accident. I removed it.

      • Nicholas Ramsey says:

        Thanks, Viktor. I just discovered your blog. I appreciate the openness of your workflow. I’ve learned a great deal.

        • Nicholas, in case you decide to use my free Lightroom presets, I would appreciate the feedback. I released them only couple of weeks ago.

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