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This image is another HDR from a bracketed set of exposures. I was looking east from the Big Four Bridge around sunrise last week and found the sky to be very dramatic and foreboding. I really like the view from up on the bridge with the boat club on the left and the ramp up to the bridge on the right. In this composition I wanted to emphasize the many triangles that were formed by the channel on the left, the ramp and parking lot on the right and the clouds as they receded into the distance.
I merged the four exposures, +2, +1, 0, and -1, in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to begin the tone mapping. I initially used an anti-ghosting setting of 20% but when I viewed the merged image there were several issues with the way the clouds rendered. I returned the merged image to the merge panel and applied 100% anti-ghosting which solved the problem. Normally I try to keep the anti-ghosting setting relatively low to avoid an artificial appearance but I have discovered that dramatic cloud formations really need it boosted to 80% or 100%. I think it has a lot to do with the speed that the clouds are moving, which is usually pretty fast, when they are part of a storm front such as this one.
I then started trying the various NIK HDR EFex Pro 2 realistic presets but did not find one that matched my intent for the final image. As I sorted through the many presets I discovered one named “Sinister” which was very close to what I wanted for the final effect. The only difficulty I encountered when applying the preset was that the foreground and foliage went way too blue and gray to suit me. I then placed a control point in the foliage and increased the exposure slightly. This served to lift the greens in the trees out of the shadows. Using that same control point I then raised the saturation very slightly and adjusted the vibrancy. What I was trying for was to get the scene to appear in the photo as it had appeared to me when I was capturing the bracket set.
The more I use NIK HDR EFex Pro 2 the more ways I find to create images that reflect the image I have in my mind when I trip the shutter. As I have said here in the past, my intent with many of my images is to create something that evokes my feelings for the subject and not necessarily a documentary photograph. I know that some photographers take issue with that line of thinking but as the quote in the masthead of this blog says “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” by Edgar Degas. I hope that my images evoke similar feelings in those who view my art.
3 thoughts on “Stormy Morning in Louisville”
Extremely powerful image, Nick.
Thank you Lauren for your kind comment.
That is quite the photo, sir. It made me hide under my desk for five minutes, so you might say it’s pretty darn atmospheric… : )