HDR Image of a Ghost Towboat

Towboat Poltergeist
Ghost Towboat?

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As I worked the Louisville sunset on Monday night I saw this view of Waterfront Park and the Louisville skyline and set up my tripod to capture the scene for a HDR image. I liked the way the leading lines of the clouds and shoreline converged on the city skyline and thought that it would make a great HDR subject. The light trails on the left side of the image add a feeling of speed and movement to the way the leading lines, the curve of the river bank and paths of the lights in the Swing Garden, head into that vanishing point. The light trails also add a strong graphic element to the overall image as they carry the colors of the horizon into the city.

This HDR image of Louisville’s Waterfront Park was created using a three frame bracket set shot at f11 at 1 second, 4 seconds and 13 seconds.. I allowed the camera to choose the shutter speeds based on Aperture Priority and a bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures. I knew that the towboat in the right foreground would produce light trails as it moved through the shooting interval. Because of the movement in the bracket set I was anxious to see how the HDR software would render it. I applied a 20% anti-ghosting setting when I merged the bracket set in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 .

I was surprised at how the light trails came out when the three frames merged and produced the ghostly apparition in the lower right of the image. I decided to finish my processing and share the HDR image even though it is unusual. I’d like to hear other viewers response to this image and the towboat ghost whether that is yea or nay.

4 thoughts on “HDR Image of a Ghost Towboat

  1. You’re the photographer. You have taken your creation. It is not the people to say whether this is good or not!
    This is the problem with techniques such as HDR, we find the result. It is possible to achieve the same result by controlling every step …. but it is longer ……

  2. Thanks for your input Pascal. I prefer to create images that speak to me instead of spending hours in post processing. I love using HDR technique to shoot so that I have a broad dynamic range with which to create my vision.

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