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I went down to the riverfront yesterday morning to shoot the arrival of Hurricane Isaac in Louisville. Usually after a Gulf Coast hurricane moves inland it comes up the Mississippi River and then drifts east through the Ohio River Valley. I expected the sky to be rather dramatic and I was really hoping to capture the sunrise. I shot several images from Waterfront Park looking east and liked what I was getting. I applied my adage of “looking behind myself” to see if there was anything going on in the western sky when I saw the blue moon, a second full moon in one month, just above the Kennedy Bridge. The clouds were moving in from the southwest and I really liked the way they were drifting past the moon. I immediately shot a bracketed set of images from EV +2 through -2 in one stop amounts to capture as much detail as I could even though it was still at least 30 minutes before actual sunrise.
Back in the studio I opened the bracket set in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and merged them with the Ghosting Adjustment set to 20% which allowed the sky to stay as I envisioned it when I captured the scene. I started with the Deep 2 preset and adjusted the tone map and tonality until I had what I wanted. By boosting the Highlight and White sliders I got the moon to pop out of the clouds which was how I had originally envisioned the scene. I then took the image back into Aperture 3 where I cleaned up some sensor spots, subtly boosted the Vibrance slider and applied sharpening. I also cropped the final image into a panoramic framing to accent the linearity of the bridge before exporting it for the web.