View of Kremlin from Moscow River (Russia)

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That was the short trip to Moscow after 20 years of my absence. Lots of changed in the city but it is still as beautiful as I remembered it. As I was standing under the Patriarchal Bridge which was only recently built (2004) I realized that the rest of the scene has not changed in 20 years and looked exactly as I remembered it.

Russia. Moskow. Patriarchy Bridge
Loc: 55.743782, 37.607831

How to Recover “bad weather” photographs

It was my very last day in Moscow and it was a very busy one besides my photography. I left my tripod in the hotel in the morning and I had only a few opportunities to use my camera during the day. It was an overcast with the gloomy sky and I knew from the beginning that I would have to work very hard during the editing to bring life into my photos.

I took 3 bracketed shots (-1, 0, +1) as I normally do, hand-held, but because of the weather, I only used middle exposure to process and edit it.

I am very excited because it was the first time I had an opportunity to use my brand new Lightroom presets from CROSS PROCESSED Lightroom Preset Collections Vol.3.

I used the Lightroom Preset Based editing where I applied preset Sunblast first and then I used ToolKit adjustments to fix the exposure, recover shadows and increase the contrast.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Sunblast (01, 09, 14, 31)

If you do not know what is the Lightroom Preset Editing Formula, please check my tutorial where I explain it in details (How to Use PhotoTraces Free Lightroom Preset Collection).

The last step in the Lightroom editing was the use of brand new Lightroom 6 feature, the Filter Brush. I used it to mask the effect of the Gradient Filter on the left side of the composition. Basically, I erased the effect of the blue gradient from the bridge wall. To learn more about this feature check my review Adobe Lightroom 6 Review – New Features.

To complete the editing, I jumped to Photoshop to clean up the photo by removing distracting elements (electric wires, utility poles, dirt) with the help of the Stamp Tool.

Deconstructing Featured Photo

  • Camera: Canon 60D
  • Lens:  Sigma 17-70mm
  • Focal Length: 17mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Aperture: F6.3
  • Sutter: 1/250
  • Bracketing: 3 shots (-1, 0, +1 )
  • Tripod: hand-held


Lightroom: import, tagging, preset based processing (Sunblast preset from Cross Processed Collection) and ToolKit adjustments. The Filter Brash was used to remove the effect of the gradient filter from the bridge wall.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Sunblast (01, 09, 14, 31)

Photoshop: Mostly cleaning with the help of the Stamp Tool.

Photoshop Plugins: 

  • Dramatic improvement–and without HDR processing too. I would be interested to see how your 3-exposure effort might have looked like, for comparison purposes. It would be a useful compare/contrast learning experience for those of us just getting into HDR photography. But I appreciate all the details you’ve listed.

    • Carl, processing it for HDR would not make much difference because the light was not dynamic at all. The dynamic range of the scene is narrower than dynamic range of the camera sensor.

  • Faraz Azhar says:

    Hello Viktor. Your processed image looks great. But you used to show a “before & after” image on your blog. I dont see the “before” image so I can’t tell what difference you made in the processed image. You usually used to have a slider on the image to see before and after.

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