Church on the River

It’s not a real church. Still, the effect here is nice, sitting along the river here with the light of the setting sun poking through the clouds. This is very close to where I took this shot, only from the opposite direction.

I’m asked often to talk about my workflow. So a few details about today’s shot after the photo. Be sure to stick around if you are interested.


Still here? Awesome. Now a few details on my photo processing workflow.


This is four exposures. My camera only brackets three, so I have to manually add any extra. When I get back from shooting, I merge my photos in Photomatix Pro. There are other HDR programs now, and I’ve tried them all, but I keep going back to Photomatix. If you are looking to get into HDR photography, you should start with this app. You can get it here. (They offer a free trial, so you have nothing to lose. If you do decide to buy it, use the code japandave for a 15% discount.

To my eye, the HDR photo that Photomatix gives me is very flat, so I usually take it into Photoshop afterwards. Not always, but often enough. For today’s photo I increased the contrast, added some blur around the edges, added a soft glow to the entire photo, and cropped the whole deal to 1.619×1. Yes, the golden ratio. It may or may not be pseudo-science, but I like the tighter rectangle. My camera shoots 3:2 so I’m not losing a lot by cropping this way anyways.

Even though I shot the photo at ISO 200, there is some noise, especially in the sky. One of the unfortunate effects of merging to HDR is noise is usually increased. Normally I might get rid of it with PS, but for this shot I thought it added a grain-like effect so I kept it.

Fortunately there wasn’t any ghosting in this shot. When that happens, I mix in some of the original shots by using masks and other fun things.

All of this might take me an hour or two, depending on the photo. I could always take longer, but I try to limit it. Another hour may improve the photo more, but it gets to the point of diminishing returns. An hour or two seems to be the sweet spot for me.

And that is a really quick overview to my entire process. If enough of you guys are interested in more, I could go into some more detail in the future.

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4 Responses to Church on the River

  1. Anonymous Wednesday, 16 February 2011 at 4:16 am #

    Great image Dave and love the workflow! Good stuff!

  2. Anonymous Thursday, 17 February 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Lovely processing. Perfect framing

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