Palm Trunks, Morro de Sao Paulo

by John Downey

I really ought to be asleep by now, but after spending a lot of time fine-tuning the masks on this image, I wanted to share it while my thoughts about the post processing were fresh (though my eyes are clouding up).  This image is a partial HDR.  What the heck is that?  Only part of the frame – the grass, stone wall and palm trunks were tonemapped using PS CS4 and Photomatix Pro.  That result was re-imported into PS and I took the best sea and sky exposures (original frames used for the HDR merge) and masked each, blending them into the HDR foreground. Layer blend modes were tweaked (I used Soft Light for the sky and Overlay for the water).  Softened the noise in the sky and blended the edges between the wall and water and there you have it.  My original attempts at doing a realistic, punchy image failed because I had been wrongly assuming the whole shebang could have been done solely with HDR.  It’s always good to revisit techniques.  Keeps you thinking outside the box.

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