Waterfront Park Winter in HDR

Louisville Skyline and the Ohio River Shoreline in Winter
HDR Winter Sunset Louisville Skyline and the Ohio River Shoreline in Winter

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Last week I decided to see what Waterfront Park looked like after several days of sub-zero weather and a couple of snow storms had blanketed the park. I wanted to emphasize the feeling of the coldness and crispness that winter on the Ohio River produces. I chose to shoot the above image because it seemed to encompass so many elements that identify the city and at the same time reinforce the brittleness and chill that was in the air. I was drawn to the complimentary colors of the gold in the sunset and the blue shadows on the shoreline. The river had been dropping for several days and there were shelves of ice layered one above the other at the river’s edge.

I knew going in that I was going to make these images as HDR images and shot my customary bracket set of three exposures at +2, 0 and -2 EV. I merged the three files into one high dynamic range image using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2. After merging them I applied the Balanced preset, adjusted the Detail slider to Accentuated and the Drama slider to Deep before returning the merged file to Aperture 3 for final processing. I chose to make these images in HDR because there was such a broad dynamic range in the scene from very dark areas along the shore to sunlight streaming through the bridge and around the skyline in the back of the images. Whenever there is such a wide dynamic range I find HDR processing allows me to show the scene as I saw it during my shooting.

Winter Evening in the Swing Garden
Winter Evening in the Swing Garden

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 This second image is also a three frame bracket set taken much later in the evening. I was hoping to convey the quietness and solitude that a winter evening in Waterfront Park offers to those who venture there in January. I liked the way the street lamps illuminated the pathways and the shadows they cast across the ground. The lights on the Kennedy Bridge in the background are direct color compliments to the cobalt sky and clouds while the muted greens and yellows of the grass and street lamps that occupy the middle and foreground carry the eye along toward the river.

My HDR processing for this image was very similar to the first image though I did spend a little more time adjusting the color channels to get the feeling that I experienced as I surveyed the scene and decided to capture it. As with the previous image my goal here was to reinforce the icy cold that we are experiencing this winter here in Louisville.

Strolling Under The Big Four Bridge in January
Under The Big Four Bridge in January

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I have been photographing the Big Four Bridge for several years and because of that I have to really study the scene to come up with something fresh to shoot. For this image I wanted to capture not only the beautiful sunset but also the snow on the ground and the feeling of winter. Once again the complimentary colors of the oranges of the sunset and the icy blue of the shadows were primary elements in my composition.

This image too is another high dynamic range image using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and Aperture 3 to process it. My goal with my HDR work is to present a realistic, if heightened, vision of natural and manmade elements that evoke strong feelings in the viewer.

 

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Waterfront Park Winter in HDR

  1. Great photography, Nick. I love the complimentary colors of blue and orange and the composition of the bridge and walkways.

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