North Avoca Beach Sunrise – Natural HDR

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Ok finally got a set of shots with some dramatic light to test out the natural HDR blending look that I have been playing with and refining and this is the result. I have included below the shot that makes the over exposed just so you can see the massive difference between the exposures on the headland and sky and the blending needed for the under exposed shots.

Without going into too much detail this technique obviously is about complex Photoshop masking but the work and look in Photoshop is greatly helped if you capture your bracked shots thinking ahead of how it is all going to come together later and areas that might be challenging. I like how it is a combination of both. Good capture and good editing… I hate when it is all about your Photoshop skills.

With processing this shot one of the main things I learnt is not to get too greedy with highlight detail and shadow detail. As pushing it too far it looks to unnatural even though the detail is impressive.

Click any of the images for a larger view.

6 thoughts on “North Avoca Beach Sunrise – Natural HDR

  1. impressive Matt. Do you use luminosity masking for most of the masks for this technique?
    Also, have you ever noticed any problems with bad CA around the headland for example?

  2. Thanks Matt…. there is quite a few techniques all together. Creating luminosity masks is just one of them, but it is all about the refinement of the masks especially around textures without getting weird artifacts caused by the other layers. In regards to CA (Chromatic Aberration) around the headland there was a bit that I removed in ACR. I found CA was a bigger problem in the pine tree on the left.

    I’m getting better at doing it. Doing this one took a few goes to get it right.

  3. this is quite nice matt,

    if you were just to use grads on the sky the head land would of been just to dark to get any detail from ?

    are you going to continue this method of shooting for now? or is there to much in it?


    • Thanks Mitch. As you can see from the over exposed shot to use a grad to pull in the highlight on the horizon it would have darkened the headland too much to get good clean detail from. It would have been very muddy at best.

      Yea I will be shooting with this method from now on. There is quite a bit in the editing but it is fun seeing how your final shot comes out.

  4. Looks great, Matt. I’ve been playing around with this technique a bit too. It is proving a bit tricky in some situations, but in others it works a treat. I’ve just been shooting in South-West WA for the past few days and have got some bracketed exposures to play with. I will be posting the results on my blog shortly. Cheers.

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