Using Photoshop CC For HDR images

Louisville, Kentucky cityscape at sunset.
Sunset cityscape of Louisville, Kentucky as fall approaches.

With the approach of Fall, I have started photographing Waterfront Park and the Louisville cityscape as the season progresses. I am also experimenting with using Photoshop CC to merge my bracket sets because Google is no longer supporting the NIK HDR eFex 2 software. Even though I have used NIK HDR eFex 2 for nearly ten years I realize that it will eventually be obsolete due to advances in both computers and operating systems. Rather than continue to work in NIK HDR eFex 2 I know it is time for me to find a viable solution to my desire to shoot and process HDR images. Adobe Photoshop CC does an excellent job of merging bracketed images.

For these images, I am using Photoshop CC layers and Topaz Clarity as a final layer to fine tune the contrast and color in the finished images.

Abraham Lincoln Bridge in Louisville, Kentucky.
Piers under the Abraham Lincoln Bridge at sunset. The shoreline is Waterfront Park in Louisville, Kentucky.

In this image I wanted to shoot from Indiana back across the river to Kentucky under the Abraham Lincoln Bridge. I set up my tripod just before the sun dropped below the horizon and hoped to get some good light on the piers that support the bridge. I was also taken by the rose color of the light and how it lit the forms of the piers. The sky was very pastel along the southern side of the river and I wanted to capture that feature of the sunset; as an additional element I felt it was important to include the clouds on the left to balance the composition.

This image too is a three frame bracket merged in Photoshop CC and then opened in Adobe Camera Raw to make most of my basic image adjustments. Once that was done I returned it to Photoshop CC and added an additional layer that I used Topaz Clarity as a filter to fine tune the final contrast and color.

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