Rocky River Playground At Zion in HDR

River at Zion by Marc ManthaLet’s look at the original first (see right >).

(The restored version is further down)

Not again.

Here’s a perfect example of those tourist shots that just don’t turn out. One part is too bright, the other too dark. The weakness of the digital sensor is in not being able to handle the most extreme instances of dynamic range of natural light.

HDR isn’t really designed to rescue photos, but sometimes you can be lucky enough if you’re just inside the fine line where you still have pixel information in the lightest and darkest areas of your photos. Then a rescue plausible.

That mountain in the background is fully exposed to the mid day sun. Yet most of the foreground is in the shadows. There’s a small section on the top of that mountain that is a little washed out. It might not be holding any details, but I gave the HDR processing a try.

The HDR recipe for this editing cookoff.

  • Shot in Raw format.
  • Open in PhotoShop Raw editor to create 5 exposures: -2, -1, 0, +1, +2
  • Load 5 exposures in Photomatix Pro Tone Mapping and Save.
  • Open in PhotoShop for final editing and Lab Sharpening Technique.

We’ve been able to open up all of the details on the river and the people enjoying it. I keep an “HDR To Do” folder on my desktop containing photos with potential. This was a coin toss as to weather or not HDR styling would work.

Click on this image for an even larger detailed version.

Aaah, that’s better.

River in Zion by Marc Mantha

The more you shoot, the more mistakes you make. If you learn from your mistakes, you’re a genius.

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