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Today’s image is another shot from Waterfront Park looking east. As I mentioned in my earlier posts this week I expected some dramatic skies with the approach of Hurricane Isaac into the Ohio River Valley. I wasn’t disappointed and my early arrival in Waterfront Park revealed this scene as it unfolded before me. It was around 7:00 AM and the sun had not quite risen over the horizon, the clouds were layered across the sky and the sunlight was just starting to filter up through them. The colors and texture of the sky were exactly what I had hoped for as drove into the city to shoot from the eastern end of Waterfront Park. The building on the left is the University of Louisville Boathouse and the building in the center is a new condo complex being built adjacent to the new Louisville Marina.
I decided to process this image from a single file, from my bracket set, to see how well NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 would handle it. The more I use NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 the more impressed I am with it’s ability to render the image in a way that suits my vision for it. More and more I am able to use NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 on single frames and achieve realistic HDR images that rival those, that in the past, required a large bracket set to produce. I’m not interested in seeing how many images I can merge just for the sake of saying that I did it. As I see HDR processing it is simply an extension of the Dodging and Burning that I was doing years ago in the darkroom when I wanted to tone down the highlights or open up the shadows.
My goal as a photographic artist is to produce an image that captures my personal feeling and vision for the scene and if I can do that with one or two images I’m quite satisfied. This does not mean that I am giving up on using multiple images over a broad exposure range when I need them in order to capture the entire tonal range of a scene that is beyond the capability of my camera’s sensor. It simply means that I have more options at my disposal. NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 is a super program and I recommend that you try it for yourself.
After processing the image in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 I returned it to Aperture 3 where I adjusted the vibrance slider, retouched a few sensor spots, cropped out a billboard on the right side of the frame and finally added some sharpening before saving it as a jpeg for the web.