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This past week I attended the Fourth of July event in Louisville’s Waterfront Park to capture some fireworks images. While waiting for the fireworks show to begin I wandered around the park looking for images that spoke to the idea of festivals and the attendant support services that are needed whenever large groups of people gather for a celebration. The sky was leaden with the remnants of our unrelenting week of rain and thunderstorms so I went in search of some color to shoot.
As I strolled through the park I came upon the food vendors area and was immediately drawn to the scene you see here. I liked the graphic quality of the signage and the lights on and in the funnel cake vendor and decided to create a composition that incorporated it. I found a place behind the food wagons that also held some promise of a strong foreground element. I set my tripod up and shot this image because I enjoyed the strong diagonal lines and the contrast of colors between the booths and the park’s water feature. I also liked the way the stainless steel rails contrasted with the concrete and the angles that they created.
I shot a three frame bracket set using +2, 0 and -2 EV to be sure that I had a wide dynamic range to work with. Back at my computer I first took the three RAW frames into NIK Sharpener Pro and pre-sharpened them. I then opened the three images in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 where I merged them into a HDR image. I applied the Deep 2 preset and then adjusted the amount of tone mapping and contrast to suit my taste. After the initial tone mapping was completed I returned the HDR image to Aperture 3 where I adjusted the individual color channels to bring out the reds and yellows of the signage. I also added some additional adjustments to the contrast and sharpened the image before adding a small vignette to it.