This High Dynamic Range (HDR) image is the product of cropping a larger image. It’s about 80% of the original but still holds enough detail. I really like doing these “Intimate Landscapes” since the intricate beauty of nature can be presented more intimately.
These very tall and wispy whatevers were in constant motion as you can see from the tops of some. I decided to use the motion for a softer look . . . more of an artistic expression than a statically realistic one. And yes, the color is also just a little more saturated than reality as I think it adds to the art of it.
Processing: I used seven exposures, shot from -1.5 to +1.5, loaded into Nik HDR Efex Pro. Since the majority of this scene has a much tighter dynamic range, I didn’t need to extend my exposures beyond this limit. I did selective Control Point work to balance the tones and bring out the detail in the grass/weeds. I also used control points to manipulate the light to draw more attention to the foreground and sunny area in the upper left.
In Adobe Photoshop I used Shadows/Highlights to add more depth and then Hue/Saturation to get the color to the just beyond reality stage. I finished with High Pass filter set to 8 pixels using Soft Light with opacity and fill at 100%. This gives a beautiful sharpening without getting too brittle. I used Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 for the monochrome version below.
My focus was to get more of an edgy, black and white look by increasing the contrast and eliminating some of the tonal smoothness.
Equipment used: Nikon D700 with 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 lens at 35mm, f/16, ISO 3200.