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After my post last week about HDR processing I decided to follow up by processing an image from multiple exposures. In this case I shot four frames at +1.3, +.3, 0, and -3 ev then merged them in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2. I was watching the histogram while shooting which is how I came to use these settings. The histogram was fine on the dark end but was still blown out at the upper end until I underexposed it by 3 stops. That frame was the one that made the image work.
After merging and tone mapping the merged image I returned it to Aperture 3 where I cropped it slightly, added some sharpening and enhanced the definition and vibrancy. I also tried creating an image as vibrant as this using only the 0 ev frame but it was way too dark and noisy. From this experiment I have to admit that it is definitely better to use multiple images when the exposure range is as wide as this sunset was. Without the multiple exposures the lake and mountains in the center of the image would still be too dark and lacking in detail.
I am also including the four frames I used to create the HDR image below so you can see what I was working with to create the final image.