A Happy Little Tree (HDR Vertorama)

A Happy Little Tree (HDR Vertorama)

The story of this photo

Does anyone of you still know who Bob Ross was? Bob who???

Ross, Bob Ross! He was a painter and host of the TV show “The Joy of Painting”, a show where he demonstrated how to make stunning oil paintings with very simple techniques and little time. Many many years ago, I stumbled across one episode of this show and got stuck, fascinated by the way Bob talked about what he was painting. He had a very calm almost therapeutic charisma. He invented little mini stories about the things he painted. For example, he painted a particular tree because “the little birds needed some branches to sit on with their little feet”. He made it sound logical and meaningful that this tree had to be there. And every tree he painted was “a happy little tree”. In fact, if you type “happy little tree” in Google, the first hit will be the Wikipedia page about Bob. Try it right after you commented my photo! 😉

Somehow, I found Bob and his show immensely relaxing. When I worked on this photo of a tree, the term “happy little tree” instinctively came to my mind and brought back this memory. So, I decided that this is a happy little tree.

As a matter of fact, this was never intended to be posted as it was only a practice shot. I messed up the camera settings so it’s only bracketed by +-1ev. Hence some areas are a bit dark. But I liked the simplicity and the sky with those nice clouds. And as a tribute to the late Bob Ross, here is my happy little tree.

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How it was shot

How it was stitched and tonemapped

  • Created 3 HDRs (32 bit) using Photomatix version 3.1
  • Stitched the 3 HDRs using Photoshop saved in OpenEXR format
  • Tonemapped resulting panorama HDR using Photomatix version 3.1 (Detail Enhancer)
  • Saved as 16bit TIF
  • Take a look here for a more detailed description.

How it was post-processed

  • Post-processing was done in Photoshop
  • Topaz Adjust on the entire image to get back the colors and the details [details]
  • Topaz Denoise [details]
  • Saturation layer on the plants (yellows, greens)
  • Saturation layer on the sky (blues)
  • Saturation layer on the sky with a gradient mask to even out tones
  • Saturation layer on the clouds (slight desaturation)
  • Vignette effect using a masked fill layer (only on the lower half of the image to focus the attention on the tree and keep the sky intact) [details]
  • Sharpening using the high-pass filter [details]
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