Big City Lights (HDR)

Big City Lights (HDR)

The story of this photo

…Going Pro …New Baby …New Content …A Whole New Life

This 3-shot HDR image was taken at the shore of Lake Ontario and it shows the skyline of Toronto, Canada with the CN Tower to the right. I have been there for one week in July.

…Going Pro

This is actually the first shot that I publish from that trip. It has been a crazy few months. So many big things happened, and I have that strange feeling that they ran past me in a mix of time-lapse and fast-forward. My “old” job ended at the end of August. I had a 6-year contract as a scientist at a university. That is now history and I am giving myself one year now to see if I can make a living from my photography. That is kind of exciting and a bit scary too. But I am fully aware that it is a real privilege to be given so much support from you and from my family. My wife supports me 100% and she believes in me. I feel so blessed.

…New Baby

That in itself is already big news, at least for me. But it is not the biggest news. Two weeks ago, my wife gave birth to a baby girl. It is our first child, so it is unchartered territory for us. Little Nina is healthy and such a sweetheart. Sometimes, it feels as if she has got more patience with us than we have with her.

…New Content

I have also worked feverishly under the hood of to improve my service to you and to bring you new content. I have moved my subscriber list to a new provider. Making sure that everybody has a smooth transition and preparing the website for the new subscription process took quite a while. Since I wanted to give you a little bonus too, I have written an eBook called “HDR Top Tips” that every subscriber gets for free. Last but not least I am preparing a series of eBooks about various photographic topics for you. In reference to the HDR Cookbook – the blog the really started all of this – I am calling it The Photo Cookbook Series. The Photo Cookbook Series (PCS) is a series of eBooks and other educational material that provide in-depth practical information on different photographic topics and offer practical guidance to photographers at any level.

…A Whole New Life

So, over the past three months, I have been mighty busy preparing new content and features here at and changing diapers. 😉 You could actually say that I am starting a whole new life, and I sincerely hope that you will be with me in this adventure.

How the photos were shot

How the HDR image was tonemapped

  • CA reduction and white balance correction on all source exposures in Adobe Camera Raw
  • Saved the 3 images as TIFFs
  • Created an additional +4 EV images from the original +2 EV source photo [details]
  • Applied noise reduction (Topaz Denoise) to each of the source images [details]
  • Resulting TIFF images were then used as input to Photomatix (Details Enhancer option)

How the tonemapped image was post-processed

  • Post-processing was done in Photoshop
  • Topaz Adjust on the boats and the skyline for enhancing the colors and the lighting [details]
  • Topaz Infocus on the boats and the skyline for intelligent sharpening
  • Levels layer on the boats and the skyline (more contrast)
  • Saturation layer on the boats and the skyline (master / yellows)
  • Curves layer on the water (more contrast for a more reflective look)
  • Saturation layer on the water (blues)
  • Levels layer on the reflection of the skyline (some extra contrast)
  • Levels layer on the sky (more contrast)
  • Saturation layer on the sky (blues)
  • Slight vignetting [details]
  • Watermarking [details]

Leave a reply

30 Comments on "Big City Lights (HDR)"

5 years 7 months ago

I bought my 1st DSLR last December, a Nikon D3100. Then I discovered HDR and was led to your website. I must say that about 95% of everything HDR that I’ve learned came from your “cookbook” and videos.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge, the shooting of and processing of your fantastic images.

I can’t imagine you not succeeding in photography fulltime. Have you considered an Agent for marketing your images?

Congratulations on your 1st child! I trust you are documenting everything in RAW or Iphone Jpeg. :)

I always look forward to your communications. I always learn something more. Now, I really have to learn how to use levels and saturation layers!

Bill Kossmann
5 years 7 months ago

Congratulations to you and your wife on the birth of your daughter, and best wishes on your new photographic career!

5 years 7 months ago

Hi Klaus,
Congratulations on baby Nina, and on your new career adventure. I am looking forward to learning more from you and hearing about the little one.


5 years 7 months ago

Great to see you made it to Toronto,wonderful shot of the city skyline. Congratulations on your new daughter, Nina. She will a much to your life.

5 years 7 months ago

Hi Klaus

Congratulations on the birth of you daughter. It’s awesome that you are giving it a go at going Pro. I sincerely hope it works for you.
All the best