Luminosity Masks Example #2

I must apologize for such sparse postings to my blog this summer.  I have been extremely busy.  I was promoted at my job and I was appointed a Young Men’s Division leader in my Buddhist organization, Soka Gakkai International.  I have also been traveling a fair amount.  Though many of my travels have not been devoted strictly to landscape photography I have amassed a significant portfolio of nature photographs from this summer.  I will be sharing these on my blog through the rest of the summer, explaining technical aspects of each photograph as well as artistic and philosophical aspects. The shot below was taken on my way to High Sierra Music Festival over 4th of July weekend.  This festival is held in Quincy, CA every year and hosts some of the best independent music of many flavors in an ABSOLUTELY incredible location in the Sierra Nevada mountains (north of Tahoe). For this shot I chose to combine two images in order to control the dynamic range of the scene.  I used the Patels’ “iHDR” technique, which I like to refer to as “luminosity masking” since it should not be confused with the HDR technique obtained from Photoshop or Photomatix.  Luminosity masking results in much more natural looking images than other so-called “HDR” techniques.  I have wrote about the details of this technique in other blog postings but it involves taking multiple shots of the same scene at different exposure settings.  These different exposures of the same subject are then blended using “luminosity masks” which are carefully crafted for each image to ensure a natural looking result. This example uses two images: one for the foreground and midground and one for the sky.  This incredibly powerful technique is now a staple of my photographic technique for capturing difficult light and creating natural looking images in tricky lighting situations.  A Graduated Neutral Density filter could have also been used here though the transition between the sky and the far ridge would not look as natural since this filter has a straight line that does not properly mirror the natural ridge line.  Nevertheless a “soft-edge” Grad ND could have been used and would likely have resulted in a similar image.

"Self and Environment", Sierra Nevadas, CA

"Self and Environment", Sierra Nevadas, CA (using the luminosity masking technique)

“Self and Environment” was taken with my Nikon D300 and my Tokina 12-24mm lens.  I used a circular polarizer to eliminate reflections from rocks and foliage.

~ by aaronburdick on August 24, 2009.

One Response to “Luminosity Masks Example #2”

  1. Very nice results Aaron, a beautyfull picture.

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