a16 March 2013

Manually blended sunrise

In the last two days I submitted two tutorials: about Virtual Copies in Lightroom and about some HDR theory so if you're into reading tutorials click on either of these links :) Today there won't be any new tutorial (you have to wait until next week). Instead I'm posting another Fuerteventura sunrise.

However, this one is different. In that very case I didn't use HDR to increase dynamic range. Instead I used technique known as manual blending with help of luminance (or luminosity) masks. I'm not an expert on this technique yet so I won't cover details on it I will just give you the basic idea which is that you load all your files into Photoshop and then using layer masks cover/uncover parts of individual image. This is how the masking looked for 7 exposures I used:

The blending is far from being perfect but also not that bad for beginner :) But blending was just beginning of fun as I then started to apply global & local adjustments to the image (contrast, saturation, colour balance, dodge & burn, vignette):

I'm pretty happy with the output although I'm aware it isn't ideal. What do I think about manual blending? Well, it's a really powerful tool giving you full control over the image. However, it takes so much time to blend a single photo that I won't probably use it very often. Most of the time I'm very happy with my regular tone-mapped or fused images. However, luminosity masks are great tool for applying adjustments to the image to control contrast and saturation and I will use them for that purpose for sure.

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