HDR for Real – The Gnarly Tree

I found this interesting tree while trekking the 4 mile trail in Little Talbot Island Park just outside of Jacksonville Florida. I only went about a half mile into the dense foliage when I stopped for this High Dynamic Range shot. Actually, the mosquitoes were so bad, I wanted to at least get one shot before I turned around. While doing my brackets, more than a dozen mosquitoes swarmed my arms, neck and ears. Yuck! Sometimes the sacrifices for HDR photos are worth it? Well, after 2 three shot brackets, I’d had enough. My trip back out was much faster than the trip in. I asked the park Ranger if it’s always so infested and he said that it’s either the mosquitoes or fleas. Not sure if I’ll be going back.

I used HDR Efex Pro preset #19 for the 6 exposures, only modifying the Tonal Compensation from 0 to 54%, Structure to 9% and HDR Method to Sharp at 90% to get the fine detail in the tree. In Photoshop, I did High Pass filter at 2.5 and modified Brightness/Contrast to +11 and +20 respectively. I also worked with the green and yellow in Hue/Saturation just a little to emphasize the backlighting.

If you ever make it to this park, my advice? Long sleeved turtleneck, lots of repellent and shoot fast.

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