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Norm in Fujino
03-20-2006, 06:30 AM
Since my last attempt (http://www.dcresource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18081), I've been working a bit more with Photomatix, trying to find a way around the noise created by Tone Mapping. This evening I walked my dog up to the top of the mountain to my favorite sunset spot to take some pictures, since the wind has been strong yesterday and today, blowing a lot of the haze away. This sunset spot is always tough to work with, since it has a built-in wide dynamic range, from the dark foreground to the bright sky. So I initially thought I would try using Photomatix to sandwich several independent exposures, and I took a bunch of shots to work with, but after some experimentation, I wasn't satisfied with the results and decided instead to try developing a single RAW frame twice, one with the exposure raised about .6 step, and one lowered about the same amount.

As always I'm using Silkypix here, and after developing the two images into TIFFs, I used the Photomatix combine -> "H&S_details adjust" function to blend them. For whatever reason, this one had much better sharpness and lower noise than any of my other attempts.

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c197/Peregrinor/P3205645_HLblend1sw1.jpg
Olympus E-300 + ZD 14-54mm, f8@???, ISO 100.

After blending, I used local USM to sharpen the atmosphere, and a bit of hue/saturation as well, resizing then final sharpening. I think the result has just enough foreground detail to make it look clearly like twilight, while still preserving the nice cloud detail. And it has much higher innate sharpness than the multi-frame blended versions I tried (I'll go back and continue trying that method as well, but I think I've got to either use automatic bracketing or devleop better tripod technique to maintain the registration).

PS: you can just see the crown of Mt. Fuji peeking over the mountain ridge toward the right of the frame

Bullitt
03-20-2006, 11:05 PM
Your country looks very beautiful Norm...

Norm in Fujino
03-21-2006, 12:39 AM
Thanks, Bullitt! It's just beginning to look like spring; the plums are in blossom and the cherries should be blooming next week, then some serious green arrives!
After posting the first shot above, I went back and worked a bit more with sandwiching independent exposures; here's the result I got. It came out better than I expected. Same general direction, toward the southwest:

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c197/Peregrinor/95_94_97B1s2p2w2.jpg

Phill D
03-23-2006, 03:58 PM
I think that looks really nice Norm. If you hadn't said I would have never known what you did in processing. Bullitt is right Japan does look beautiful.

Norm in Fujino
03-24-2006, 07:43 AM
Thanks, Phill. The technique holds promise, but it's not easy to control. The "haloes" where the mountains meet the sky (high-low transitions) are a side-effect, and something I've still got to work on. But it really brings out the dynamic range potential.