The story of this photo:
Opened in 1849, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge is one of the famous attractions of Budapest. At the time of its construction, it was regarded as one of the modern world’s engineering wonders. [adapted from Wikipedia]
On this trip, I actually had a tripod with me. Something that does not happen too often (shame on me). So, I went on a night shoot to capture some of those wonderfully lit buildings at the River Danube. This is the first images from that seires.
HDR at the Blue Hour
The blue hour is a great time for photography – especially for scenes like this one. You get great light, a beautiful blue sky and very nice color contrasts. However, controlling exposure can be quite a challenge in these situations as the light sources are typically much brighter than the ambient light. The HDR (High Dynamic Range) technique is a great tool that can help you in this case. Make sure that your darkest exposure exposes the highlights correctly and your brightest exposure gives you a great blue sky.
- Put your camera on a tripod and make the composition. A tripod is mandatory in this situation.
- Switch to autobracketing (AEB) mode (BKT button on a Nikon DSLR).
- Take a test AEB series.
- Check that your darkest exposure exposes the highlights correctly and your brightest exposure gives you a great blue sky.
- If that is not the case, use exposure compensation to shift the exposure settings up or down.
- Take the actual exposures with that setting.
If in doubt, go for the deep blue sky in your brightest exposure. You can fix some of the blown-out highlights later. It’s more difficult to fix an underexposed sky.
How it was shot:
- Taken with a tripod
- Three exposures (0, -2, +2 EV) autobracketed and merged to get an HDR
- Camera: Nikon D7000
- Lens: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm 1:3,5-5,6G ED VR
- Details can be found here
How it was tonemapped:
- Preparation: developed the raw files with ACR mainly in order to reduce the CA [details]
- Created one additional exposures in ACR (-4EV) to preserve highlights [details]
- Resulting TIFF images were then used as input to Photomatix
- Tone-mapping: Photomatix Pro 4.0 (Detail Enhancer)
How it was post-processed:
- Post-processing was done in Photoshop
- Blending with the original +2EV exposure (sky)
- Topaz Adjust on the entire image to get back the colors and the details [details]
- Topaz Denoise on the water [details]
- Topaz Infocus on the bridge for sharpening
- Saturation layer on the water (yellows)
- Curves layer on the water (enhancing the reflective look)
- Gaussian blur on some parts of the water for a smoother look
- Levels layer on the bridge (more contrast)
- Saturation layer on the bridge (yellows)
- Vignette effect using a masked fill layer on the lower thrid of the image (water)[details]
- Sharpening using the high-pass filter [details]
- Watermarking [details]