Izmir Harbor (HDR)

Izmir Harbor (HDR)

Download the source exposures of this HDR image and test your processing skills.

The story of this photo

Where this was shot

This image was shot from a cruise ship in the harbor of Izmir, Turkey. On this day, the weather conditions were changing so quickly that we had blue sky in one minute and pouring rain the next. Fortunately, when we arrived, the weather was basically fine, and we had a few clouds. This made this shot more interesting.

I know that the purists and those that like more natural HDR images may be turned off by the colors of the water. I am not going to pretend that this was actually the color of the water when I was there. But that is actually what Topaz Adjust gave me when I played with the adjustments. I went on processing the image, pushing it a bit into that ‘green’ direction. Then I thought that this may turn off many people, and I started thinking about changing it to something the was closer to the original (dull) color. Now, if you are serious with your art, that should be the point where you say: ‘Wait a minute! I’m about to produce something just because more people may like it???’ I decided against the change and went with the version I liked most.

Izmir Harbor (HDR) - Dynamic Before-and-After: See the effects of HDR processing by sliding back and forth between the HDR version and the original exposure

Izmir Harbor (HDR) – Dynamic Before-and-After: See the effects of HDR processing by sliding back and forth between the HDR version and the original exposure

What can you take away from this little story? Don’t let the taste of other people influence you too much. Do what you like and what you are passionate about. That’s the best way to find your audience and to stay authentic.

How it was shot

Download the source exposures of the HDR image 'Izmir Harbor' and test your processing skills!

Do you want to try processing this image for yourself? Go ahead and download the source files here!

How it was tonemapped

  • CA reduction and white balance correction on all source exposures in Adobe Camera Raw
  • Saved the 6 images as TIFFs
  • 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 it was post-processed

hdr-before-and-after-izmir-harbor

Go to the before-and-after page of this image

  • Post-processing was done in Photoshop
  • Retoucing to remove dust spots
  • Topaz Adjust to get back the details and the colors [details]
  • Topaz Infocus (sharpening)
  • Curves layer on the water (more contrast for a more reflective look)
  • Saturation layer on the water (master)
  • Saturation layer on the blue parts in the sky (master)
  • Saturation layer on the clouds (desaturation)
  • Levels layer on the clouds (fine-tune contrast)
  • Levels layer on the buildings (more contrast and brightness)
  • Levels layer on the mountains in the back (darkening)
  • Saturation layer on the mountains (slight desaturation)
  • Global saturation and levels layer for global fine-tuning
  • Slight vignette effect [details]
  • Watermarking [details]
33 replies
  1. Dennis
    Dennis says:

    In general, I like this image very much. But I’m distracted by the perspective distortion on the left side of the image, particularly the blue and white building. Seems that it would be easy to fix in Lens Correction. However, “Don’t let the taste of other people influence you too much.” ;)

    Reply
    • farbspiel
      farbspiel says:

      Hi Dennis,

      thanks for your honest feedback. Actually, I deliberately chose to keep the distortion. I like it and I think it gives the entire image kind of a cartoonish look. I don’t mean that in terms of the colors but it remind me of how skylines are sometimes drawn in cartoons. So, yes, I could have removed it, but I liked it better this way.

      Cheers
      Klaus

      Reply
  2. Daniel Horande
    Daniel Horande says:

    Hi Klaus!… It looks awesome this image man!… But i have to tell, that when i saw the before and after, i think the water looks a little “fake” or little far from the reality. Everytime i see great pictures, my first feeling is” i wanna go there so badly, is amazing and beautiful”. If i would go there, and realized that the water is all darksish, and non blueish at all, i would feel disappointed.

    Dont hate me please:-(. I really do love they way you treat each image, and I owe you all i have learnt so far!

    Reply
  3. linda
    linda says:

    I think all large bodies of water should look like that, Klaus. Clean, pristine, warm (I know, warmth is not a vision sense but you get the feel of it) and inviting. And I love the idea that if water is ugly, flat and dull,one now has the ability to play little god and “fix” it oneself. It’s all beautiful, Klaus.

    Reply
  4. Pat
    Pat says:

    Hi Klaus, the image and processing is perfect once again.

    I enjoyed your writing too, people really need to find what they like. A fellow Flickr friend of mine puts his images into the critique groups on Flickr and as a result he has been bounced all over the place by critiques who have zero skills but lots of advice. I am sure we have all had the “advice experts” make comments. Every time he looks at an image to post he is second guessing himself and he is losing interest in photography as a result.

    What I like about your information and techniques is that you invest the time into your images which results in some spectacular images.

    Other HDR Experts who have large followings of people produce HDR images that are on par with what I made a week into HDR experimenting. Producing an HDR image with halos, ghosting and CA should be something that we all strive to correct in our editing. When the Experts get away with it then their following of people will reproduce the same amateur images.

    Thanks for being responsible for striving to perfect HDR techniques Klaus.

    Reply
    • farbspiel
      farbspiel says:

      Thanks a lot, Pat!

      Great to see you here. Yeah, it’s a shame that many beginners get demotivated right at the start by people’s critique. Critique is a good thing, but you have to reflect it properly and still stick to the essence of what you love doing. Also, be careful who you ask for critique and whose critique you are really listening to.

      Do it your way and be passionate about it. That’s all it really takes!

      Cheers
      Klaus

      Reply
  5. manfrednuechter
    manfrednuechter says:

    Das Bild ist im Aufbau und der Komposition gut, die Farben sind etwas unnatürlich. Aber das liegt im Auge des Betrachters. Wer es besser machen kann, soll es machen. Hier ist Kritik nicht besonders gut angebracht. Aus Schrott noch etwas herauszuholen ist gut. Die Spitzlichter sind gut angebracht, einzig die Gebäude müssen aus dem blauen Fond gelöst werden. Das Wasser ein wenig dunkler.
    Gute Arbeit manfred

    Reply
    • farbspiel
      farbspiel says:

      Hallo Manfred,

      ich nehme das insgesamt mal als Kompliment, obwohl ich das mit dem ‘Schrott’ nochmal überdenken muss. ;-)

      Danke für die Kritik!

      Reply
  6. Herbert Colley
    Herbert Colley says:

    Hi Klaus,
    I have to admit, when you said you thought about changing the photo to something closer to the original image, I felt a little uneasy. But when I saw you followed your artistic passion and did not make the change just because other “might” like it, I was relieved (even happy). Thanks for sticking to your guns.
    Thanks, Klaus…I appreciate you and your work.

    Reply
  7. Anthony Salmon (Imagegourmet)
    Anthony Salmon (Imagegourmet) says:

    Klaus, the image is perfect the way it is, I don’t mind the accentuated color in the sea, and the distortion is great, I spent 27 years in a commercial environment where everything needs to be perfect, it kills the art.
    Great shot

    Reply
  8. Gary Guest
    Gary Guest says:

    WOW I think ot liiks great. The water has movement which look awesome. amd the detail is awesome. Lighting is just beautiful. You have caught it at the right moment. Well done.

    Reply
  9. Victor C
    Victor C says:

    Impressive, love the colors and the water, here’s some food for thought… a few videos of how you give birth to these beautiful images. I really enjoy reading your site, your cookbook and your opinions, and I think a few videos would definitely be the cheery on top (IMHO).

    Cheers!

    Reply
  10. Gail B
    Gail B says:

    This image is magical, and we all like a bit of magic in our lives! The colors are perfectly artist created and work so well for this image! Beautiful work.

    Reply
  11. José Parcerisa Vilatarsana
    José Parcerisa Vilatarsana says:

    Hi Klaus, it always a pleasure to see at your images and to be intouch with you, I have noticed that in this image you have applied a sharpen with Topaz in focus before some other adjustments, you did not sharpen with the high pass at the end. Do you mean the it is not necessary to sharpen if you already used the Topaz in focus instead?
    I will appreciate very much your kind assistance.
    Your friend José.

    Reply
    • farbspiel
      farbspiel says:

      Hi José,

      there is no right or wrong method of doing this. It all depends on the image. In this case, I felt that additional sharpening was not needed. In other cases, it might make sense to apply a high-pass filter in the end. Check each image in 100% view and decide case by case.

      Cheers
      Klaus

      Reply
  12. luigi
    luigi says:

    Hello my friend how you granted I tried to draw the various exhibitions of your shot of Izimir Harbor.
    How can I do to make you see my drawing?
    I would much appreciate if you tell me your views on the treatment because you are already a long time, my reference point of the HDR technique.
    Waiting for your reply I wish you good night and continues this way because your shots are wonderful.
    Greetings from Luigi Costanzo
    flickr My name is King Midas Touch *

    Reply
    • farbspiel
      farbspiel says:

      Hi Luigi,

      if you are on Flickr, you can post it to the HDR group discussion as indicated on the pics to play with page. Otherwise, just upload it anywhere on the web and tell me the URL.

      Cheers
      Klaus

      Reply
  13. Walter Gawronski
    Walter Gawronski says:

    Hi, I posted an item on my Google+ Photography circle a few days ago regarding HDR and how so very many of them are lacking contrast, and images are dull and flat and ‘surreal’. This applies to images that strive to look realistic as well as the ‘arty’ ones.

    The image above ‘Izmir Harbour’ is also affected, but only to a very small degree, I find this a good HDR rendition of the scene and obviously better processing than I am capable of.

    Anyway, I was looking for a way to combat this general loss of contrast and found my answer on a website that suggested taking the finished tiff output from the HDR software and blending it in photoshop manually and selectively with one of the bracketed images that held contrast, usually the -2EV shot.

    It just consists of using a layer mask on the hdr image layer and using a soft brush, reveal areas where contrast is required.

    What is your opinion and do you have a better solution?

    Reply
    • Darlene
      Darlene says:

      An easier answer it just to bring it back into Lightroom or Photoshop and increase the contrast or curve. I pull two sliders in Lightroom, maybe three:

      - clarity up
      - blacks down
      - contrast up

      that’s it

      Reply
      • Walter Gawronski
        Walter Gawronski says:

        Thanks Darlene,
        I do that as a matter of course after the hdr processing is done, but the hdr .tiff output has now been ‘averaged’ from the light values in the original set of raw brackets and no longer holds the light and dark values to ‘pull out’ again as the RAW files did and if you try and force them, noise and artefacts begin to appear.

        Reply
        • Darlene
          Darlene says:

          Uh I’m really not sure what the problem is. You can add contrast and shape the TIFF image any which way. You only get noise and artifacts if you try and pull shadows UP not down. Adding more black will not give you noise. Read stuff on this site in the how to sections, read stuff on Trey Ratcliff’s or RC Conception. In fact I’d recommend RC’s book for you http://tinyurl.com/c6wkz9g he goes into a lot about the post processing AFTER tone mapping. Take a look through some of my galleries, I have a lot of HDR too including this one https://plus.google.com/photos/118217903064255489244/albums/5747340363577351889/5748051582258089842 – processed the way I described it adding in blacks.

          Reply
          • Walter Gawronski
            Walter Gawronski says:

            Thanks again Darlene, I’ll have to eat my words, there is nothing wrong with the sample you showed me in your link, it is how I would like my HDRs to look.

            Best I try harder and whine less :)

          • Darlene
            Darlene says:

            Walter it’s not about whining it’s about learning. Get Klaus’ tuturials or RC’s book which I linked to above – or both and as you said, keep working on it. Everything is a work in progress. I’ve been a professional photographer for almost 25 years. I didn’t get this stuff overnight and I’m still working on perfecting some things too. Don’t ever stop learning!

  14. Darlene
    Darlene says:

    Uh I’m really not sure what the problem is. You can add contrast and shape the TIFF image any which way. You only get noise and artifacts if you try and pull shadows UP not down. Adding more black will not give you noise. Read stuff on this site in the how to sections, read stuff on Trey Ratcliff’s or RC Conception. In fact I’d recommend RC’s book for you he goes into a lot about the post processing AFTER tone mapping. Take a look through some of my galleries, I have a lot of HDR too including this one https://plus.google.com/photos/118217903064255489244/albums/5747340363577351889/5748051582258089842 – processed the way I described it adding in blacks.

    Reply
  15. Walter Gawronski
    Walter Gawronski says:

    Thanks for all your help Darlene, I’ll look at those links and see what can be done

    Walter.

    Reply

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