Sunday, June 30, 2013

Alberta Sunset

Alberta Sunset - Fuji XE-1, 14mm, f/22, ISO 200
I made this image a couple of days ago on the first evening of crossing into Alberta.  There was an area that I had scouted on the drive up that I figured might be a good sunset spot.  Since the sun sets at ~9:45, after dinner I drove out to that area.  Along the way, I saw this scene and knew immediately I wanted to try to make an HDR shooting directly into the sun.  This was opportunity to also see how the new Fuji 14mm lens would perform with regards to flare.  I captured the frames for this hand held and chose f/22 to try and increase my chances for a nice sunburst.  I think the flare is well controlled here and what little there is (it really is little since this is the result of an HDR that includes flare from the most exposed image), is almost pleasing rather than obnoxious.

I've also been testing out and experimenting with Irident Developer, a RAW image converter made by what appears to be a one man shop in Pacific Grove, California.  I've been comparing it to Capture One, Lightroom and even Aperture (even though I'm not at all a fan), looking at both image detail and color reproduction across a variety of cameras.  Its near impossible to find a single RAW converter that can excel at everything and there's reasons to choose any of these.  For this image, I used Irident, which  seems to do a better job with XE-1 demosiac and the sharpening tools are impressive; but its hard to get away from the organization abilities of Lightroom.  After Irident put out TIFFs, I used Nik HDR Efex Pro to combine and do the tone mapping, trying to find the most natural settings.  A sprinkle of Color Efex Pro to touch up the contrast (I find that I prefer to keep the image a little flat in HDR Efex Pro, and then correct contrast using Pro Contrast in CEP) and finish with a little bit of Smart Sharpen in Photoshop CC.

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