My Recipe – Reader’s Challenge

My Recipe,
Thanks to Miguel for reminding me, but I never said what I did on my version of the Reader’s Challenge
For my version, I used a recipe very different than my usual one and that is mostly because the sun was in the image.
I used all 6 frames and merged them in Photomatix which resulted in a 32 bit file with a Contrast Ratio of 31,880:1 fairly high and for sure a High Dynamic Range scene.
In Photomatix Pro 4.1.4 I used  Tone Mapping/ Detail Enhancer
Strength: 100
Saturation: 70
Luminosity: 10.0
Detail Contrast: – 5.3
Lighting adjustment: Surreal
White Point: .250%
Black Point:.524%
Gamma: 1.20
That got the basics there and the most important part being the sun having the brightness and shape I wanted. The rest I needed to finish in Photoshop.
I took it into Photoshop and cut off the Vignettes and cloned out the Sensor spots.
the next step was to work on the noise before I went any further and the image was a lot noisier than I Would have liked and it is probably from the -4 EV shot that only had the sun in it. May not have been such a good idea including it in the merge. Hmmm wondering now if I should have not used the -4 OR the -2EV and blended the sun in later…hmmm
Anyway, I turned Topaz DeNoise 5 and used the RAW Moderate setting.
Going back to Photoshop, I added a Levels adjustment layer to bring back some detail  and contrast to the Badlands area. and I masked it off the sky for the most part.
I then dodged and burned the sky as I saw fit and finished the image off using a High Pass Filter sharpening action I made.
And that’s about it. I’m not thrilled by it. It’s not an image I would sell and it was not the best image I shot that evening. I think this one was probably the best shot of the day. Light is just WAY BETTER.  Light is 90 degrees from the sun and about 10 minutes earlier and needed very little work in post
Anyway, thanks again to all that participated. We will be having more challenges soon and I’ll see if I can up the anty on the prize to make it more worthwhile


  1. Miguel Palaviccini February 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Thanks for the ‘recipe’. i’m going to give it a shot this week. It always helps to play around with a certain direction in mind. … So when’s the next one?!

  2. Ann Higgens February 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your process.
    I think the prize you’re giving is great and no need to up the ante!

  3. Stephen Presutti February 28, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    Thanks for sharing. I really like the image at the bottom, the lighting and color are great! I only hope you would fix the distortion, then it would be perfect 😉

    • Peter February 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

      There is no distortion, that’s the shape of the terrain.

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