Scroll Over Image to See 'Before' Version
This shot was taken in Charleston, South Carolina at the Charleston Waterfront Park at sunset. For me, this picture represents a piece of traditional Americana...kids playing in a fountain, cooling off during a hot summer day...a scene photographed in Charleston, S.C. (one of the first cities ever established in the United States)...the American flag swaying in the background. Not a 'gallery shot', but an interesting image nonetheless. It was kind of funny when i was taking these pictures. The kids didn't notice me at first. But, once they did...they started posing for the camera, hiding behind the stone columns in the foreground and peeking their heads around.
Obviously, these are HDR images. I used 5 exposures (-2 to +2). Instead of going over every processing step I did, like i usually do in my posts, I'm going to focus only on one element of post processing that i found challenging in this particular photograph. If anyone is interested in more detailed post-processing information, please see any of my past posts. :) OK. So, I took the 5 exposures for the first image (the one on the very top of page), handheld. Big mistake. I usually use my tripod for HDR images, and i did for the second image, but I took the first image before I set up my equipment. I was just really eager to get a shot. This caused post processing work to be a nightmare because the exposures didn't align exactly. In Photomatix I checked the "align" box in the beginning. However, once I imported the tone mapped image and the 5 exposures in PHotoshop, none of these 6 layers aligned. So, I had to manually align each layer with the tonemapped layer as i worked on a particular layer. Does this make sense? For instance, with the tone mapped layer on top, and the -1 exposure layer directly underneath, I lowered the opacity of the top layer to 50% so I could see through it to the -1 exposure layer. Then, using the 'move' key, I moved the top layer to exactly match the bottom layer. Then, I was able to add a layer mask to the top layer and mask in whatever i wanted from the 2nd layer. Don't forget to bring the opacity of the top layer back to 100% before you add layer mask. Viola. So, that's a little tip on how to deal with unaligned layers in Photoshop. :-)