I’ve posted an all black and white version of this image before – “The Real Yosemite” – taken in Cook’s Meadow looking at Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. It’s one of my favorites – with big Half Dome in the distance and the young family playing in the snow in the meadow below.
Lately, I’ve been re-learning some tools and techniques for post-processing images and decided to take another try at a slightly different approach to this particular image – you see the result above. This has a very minimalist use of selective color – on the child’s jacket – along with some subtle toning that, for me, adds a bit more depth to the image versus my earlier black and white treatment – included below.
Very early yesterday, I headed into Yosemite National Park for a quick one day photo shoot – with my Canon 5D Mark II and Canon PowerShot S90 in hand. You can see some early results in my Yosemite Flickr set here.
Most of the photos I shot with the 5D were shot on a monopod – good for some stability and sharpness in the individual images but not good enough for post-processing HDR images without aligning the photos.
A few tests confirmed that Photomatix wasn’t nearly as good as Photoshop CS5 at aligning the 3 raw images I had shot for each capture. So my workflow evolved into the following:
Open the 3 images in PhotoShop as layers in a single document. The simplest way to do this is to use Bridge CS5 – selecting Tools – Photoshop – Load Files into Photoshop Layers… after selecting the 3 images to be used.
Once Photoshop has opened the images, then select Edit – Auto Align to align the layers.
Then select Files – Scripts – Export Layers to Files… to export each layer (now aligned with the others). Select JPG when prompted and select a filename and location that makes sense for these 3 images.
Now that the images have been aligned (this is only a requirement for handheld HDR!), you can go ahead and open them in Photomatix and continue the HDR creation process.
Once you’ve tweaked Photomatix and saved the resulting HDR image, you may want to open it again in Photoshop and apply a few additional adjustments – sharpening in particular.
That’s it – a bit complicated. Makes me want to go invest in a good tripod – to avoid the need to auto-align the images!