My day at the beach would not be complete without a few chiche High Dynamic Range shots of boardwalks, dunes and such. This is the end of the northern boardwalk to the beach at Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville Florida. I know, these things can get pretty monotonous but hey, I don’t get to Florida very often. And despite a brisk wind the waves were nothing to speak of.
These were shot with my Nikon D100 and 28-70mm lens. Nine exposures were used for each shot at .5 ev intervals from -2 to +2. I struggled with the wind that day but still seemed to get some good, fairly stable images. I find it interesting, only recently getting familiar with Efex Pro, that the waves in the distance on the first shot needed very little “fixing” after the images were merged and moved into Adobe Photoshop.
For processing, I started with preset #5, Realistic Gradients 2 in HDR Efex Pro. It seemed like a good starting point but I ended up making lots of changes so I setup a new preset for my seascapes. My custom preset is as follows and seems to work pretty good with the bright sun on the sand and the detail in the wood of the boardwalk.
- Tonal Compression – 75%
- Exposure – .26 EV
- Contrast – 0 %
- Saturation – 10%
- Structure – 37%
- Blacks – -64%
- Whites – -84%
- Warmth – 20%
HDR Method is set to Sharp at 20%. I seem to use this setting a lot. It gives just enough punch without messing up the details. I worked the curves to add a little more contrast under the boardwalk.
High Pass filter in Photoshop was set to 2.0 pixels. I used Surface Blur to smooth out the sky at Radius of 5 pixels and Threshold at 15 levels. I also punched the green and yellow just a bit to emphasize the mossy look on the boardwalk poles.
The same settings were used for the second shot below.