Top SecretAlways work on a duplicate and keep an unedited original.


Your editing skills and technology will change. Favorite shots of the past can be revisited and reworked. However, the optimum situation is to use a digital photo where the pixels have not been pushed around. Using a previously edited photo will be like overcooked food. Cooking your photo further likely won’t make it any better. Also, when starting a new editing recipe, like food, use fresh ingredients and legumes. That’s the fist time I ever use the word legumes ever in an article.

Long before I knew what HDR photography was, I shot a scene some years ago not knowing that today it would restored more appropriately. I did edit a version back then, but it just wasn’t that close to what I remember seeing. The feeling wasn’t there.

Canyonlands sunrise digital revisit.

Here’s the finished work now. Next, the story behind it, the original images and first time ever released secret crib notes.

(Click the photo to enlarge)

Squaw Flat Trail by Marc Mantha

The original images below where shot in Raw format. Raw photos are essentially free of any camera processing. Raw photos look pretty lame and that’s the point. You do all the editing.  Your usual JPEG is processed in camera pretty extensively.

The natural range in light was so extreme, this required taking two shots to blend into one.

So here are the two images captured to meter (expose) the sky and foreground separately but properly. It’s not a plausible single shot.

Canyonlands Exposures

Here’s how it was done. The sky shot, above on the left. Camera set to Center Weighted Metering. Center AF Point selected. Partially depress the shutter button with center AF point on the clouds. Recompose the scene and fully depress, click!

The foreground shot, above on the right. Same as above left sky shot, but pointing to the foreground below the horizon.

The focal length is wide and with a high f-number, a longer depth of focus from front to back is achieved.

Top Secret Workflow…Shhh!

I’ve outlined the work flow for you. It’s pretty technical and I’ll gladly entertain any questions.

Here’s the combination HDR and photo blending flow chart…

Secret Workflow by Marc Mantha

Over the years and thousands of edits later, it’s second nature.

It’s nice to find an old favorite and give it some visual justice.

MAMA Photography

MAMA supports the creative minds of the planet earth. If you come across something interesting and out of the ordinary, or just something that makes you smile, we’d like to know about it.

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