Posts tagged “lady bird

Austin Skyline, Final Light of Blue Hour

Austin Skyline, Blue Hour. 5-frame HDR Panorama, 30mm, f/8

To do this image justice it really needs to be viewed large.  Click here for the full-res version.

On a photowalk last weekend (see previous post) I shot some frames in hopes of stitching a panorama of the Austin Skyline as viewed from the SRV statue on Auditorium Shores.  I bracketed my shots with a mind toward using HDR and/or compositing to capture most of the dynamic range.  I had no intention of filling in the deep shadows of course — It was getting dark after all.

In processing I set off to try the HDR route (I believe this is my first ever pano in HDR) and based on advice from Dave Wilson I first tonemapped the separate frames (3 exposures used for each) using the same settings in Photomatix.  I used something on the order of 60% “strength” and tried to keep the HDR look toned down (FYI, the original exposures really do have this much blue in them). I tweaked the perspective of the individual frames a bit in Lightroom then merged to a panorama in CS5 using the ‘cylinder’ setting for the stitch.  I could write an entire post about my perspective and stitching issues but suffice it to say that using the ‘auto’ setting was giving me very skewed perspectives from my wide-ish angle frames (30mm on a full-frame body).  The automatic blending of the exposures after the stitch usually does a bang-up job of matching colors and creating a seamless stitch but I did have to manually tweak one area to make it match.  Hopefully it’s not too noticeable…I won’t point it out of course.  The HDR was a bit too saturated for my taste (it still kind of is…can’t make up my mind how I want this to look) so I used the vibrance adjustment to tone it down.  Curves adjustments were used in various places for some final tweaks.  No original exposures were masked into the final image.


Austin Skyline, Lady Bird Lake

Under the First Street Bridge, Austin, TX 15mm, f/11, (7 exposures), ISO 100

Sunday night I enjoyed an evening photowalk with Todd Landry and several of the local “HDR Mafia” in Austin (Atmtx, Dave Wilson, Jim Nix, and Pete Talke) .  I played around with some framing under the First Street Bridge and liked the sideways ‘V’ formed by the shadows under the bridge and on the water. I shot lots of brackets for this but I only used enough to give a hint of light under the bridge.  I started down the path of masking in some of a lighter exposure but in the end preferred the deep shadow and how it draws more attention to the skyline and its reflection.

I tonemapped 7 exposures in Photomatix and blended pieces of the original exposures back in.  This was followed by a few curves adjustments masked in here and there, selective sharpening, and noise reduction in much of the image.  I had some chromatic aberration issues which I couldn’t get to go away via Lightroom adjustments so I used a trick I learned a while back: duplicate the final background layer, do a gaussian blur of 10-15 pixels, change the blend mode to ‘color’, and selectively mask into the problem areas.  Works great for the most part but can cause a little of that blur to show sometimes.

We walked over to the SRV statue on Auditorium Shores to take some panoramas of the Austin skyline just after sunset.  I got some cool shots but am frankly unable to get a stitch with a decent perspective (so far).  I’ll keep working on that.  Meanwhile, I decided to post a couple shots I took while the guys were shooting the skyline.  Both were taken with my 50mm f/1.4 lens but I experimented a bit. One image used f/1.4 in order to get extreme bokeh while the other used f/8 to tone the bokeh down and show the skyline better.

Todd Landry Against Skyline Bokeh, Austin, TX 50mm, f/1.4, 1/45s, ISO 1600

Skyline Silhouettes (Atmtx and Todd Landry), Austin, TX 50mm, f/8, 1/4s, ISO 400