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Thread: Summer Evening

  1. #1
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Summer Evening

    Almost a year ago I posted an almost identical image called After the Rain. Although I loved how it turned out, the more I looked at it over time, the more disillusioned I became with the results. For starters, it was an early foray into both HDR and post processing.

    The result was colourful, bright, and detailed, but lacking in many areas, namely excessive noise as the result of the tonemapping process and my lack of experience.

    I decided to go back and give it another try without using HDR techniques to see if I could keep the noise in check. I had taken quite a few manual exposure bracketed images and as I looked through them, I realized that there was a possibility of blending several of them together to hopefully get a better result.

    Here is the base image I started with. It has been cropped to match the final result so that comparisons would be easier but otherwise is SOOC.

    Summer Evening

    The sky and most of the foreground would work but with the shadows and an ISO of 800, there was still excessive noise even here. The first thing I did was to adjust the Recovery in ACR to minimize the blown highlights, mostly from the lights. Then I opened it in Topaz DeNoise and even at maximum could not remove all of the noise. I applied some mild Capture Sharpening, not wanting to increase the noise any further and used Topaz Adjust to bring out the colour in just the sky a bit.

    From there I started merging in the buildings from best looking images I had from where I zoomed in on smaller groups of buildings that night. By the time I was done, I had merged in buildings from 5 images to get the result.

    The final result was 11 MB but had lots of sharp detail. By the time I reduced it in size for posting, much of the fine detail was gone. I've got to stop making such large images as it breaks my heart to see all that lovely detail get crunched into a pixel blob!

    About the only way to really get it better will be to go back and reshoot. Unfortunately, getting a great sky at dusk is not something I can just order up from the Weather Channel so until then, this will have to do.

    Summer Evening

  2. #2

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    Re: Summer Evening

    It is still a stunning image. Bet it would look great in a large print.

  3. #3
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Summer Evening

    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    It is still a stunning image. Bet it would look great in a large print.
    Thanks Nat! Here is the original from almost a year ago for comparison:

    Summer Evening

    I liked the image I used for the sky better but the noise in the sky was excessive.

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    Stephen Campton-Jones

    Re: Summer Evening

    swap skies

  5. #5

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    Re: Summer Evening

    Shows how far you'v progressed in experience...I don't have enough experience to swap skies, at least, not easily....I know there is software to help with swapping skies.......still, very impressive image you have!

  6. #6
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Summer Evening

    Quote Originally Posted by stephencamptonjones View Post
    swap skies
    I would have loved to but it just wasn't possible Stephen! I went back to the original image and tried to reduce the noise in the sky but it was simply too excessive.

    I suppose I could have taken the original and blended in the additional detail as I did in the newer image but it was the noise in the sky that prompted me to choose a different image to work on from those I took that night.

    I also wanted to include more of the buildings on the left and right to enhance the sense of panorama and in the original image but the original sky image wasn't wide enough to allow that.

    A great learning experience though and it has helped me take images under these circumstances with more appropriate settings - namely a lower ISO and longer exposure. I had originally used the shorter exposure time to synchronize with the stoplights and automobile head/tail light trails. That is why these images don't have traffic stoplights with both red and green lights on at the same time.

  7. #7
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Summer Evening

    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Shows how far you'v progressed in experience...I don't have enough experience to swap skies, at least, not easily....I know there is software to help with swapping skies.......still, very impressive image you have!
    Thank you Nat! Yes, there are a number of tutorials and videos on the web that explain in detail how to replace a sky with one that is more appropriate. You'll get there easily enough with Photoshop or Elements. I'm guessing that most other post processing software has a way of doing this as well. Here is one of many that are available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0W2pi6-gQQ

  8. #8

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    Re: Summer Evening

    Another great recovery and another great lesson. Thanks Frank.

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