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Sunday evening I was down in Waterfront Park to shoot the sunset and the people out enjoying the park. As I was heading back to my truck I saw the children’s playground was getting a little attention too. It was well after sunset and the light was very low so I thought I would experiment with some long exposure brackets of the kids playing on the merry-go-round. They were all ages from toddler up to five or so and they were having a great time. I knew that the figures would be blurred by movement so I decided to capitalize on that.
One mother, whose two children were the smallest on the ride, stood nearly motionless as she watched over them. I hoped that she would show up in the shots and was well rewarded. Even though there were eight or ten kids on the ride and several more parents in the scene they all stayed in motion and appear as faint ghosts in the final image.
I merged the three frames in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 using a 100% setting for anti-ghosting. I also applied the Deep #1 preset and made some very slight adjustments to the tonality before returning the image to Aperture 3 for final adjustments. In Aperture 3 I adjusted each color channel separately in order to compliment the blue tone that the twilight sky cast over the scene. I was still bothered by the way the kids were being rendered as simply a blur though; I decided to add some mid-contrast and voila their small figures appeared inside the merry-go-round. A little sharpening and some further tweaks to the Exposure and Enhance sliders and this final image emerged.