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This week I wanted to try and combine two new features in Lightroom CC/6, Panorama and HDR. This is something that I hoped would speed up my editing time. Usually I have to create a HDR or each panel with a preset and then combine a panorama in Photoshop before I can start editing. With Lightroom I could create a panorama for each bracketed exposure and then combine the panoramas into a HDR. This speed things up considerably as everything was taking place in one program.
When I thought about this process I also thought about an image I have wanted to take for a while. In Lodz where I live there is a big renovation of the city. Lodz although had a dark history through the war, it was not structurally damaged and the lack of care during the communist rule lead to many buildings falling into disrepair. Because it was not damaged in the war money was not made available to repair the city until very recently. One of the projects in the city has been to build a new central railway station and link it to the other main station in the city underground. From a bridge over the tracks you get a fantastic view of the evolution of the city due to this project which will also create a centre for the city, which it has never had.
After creating my HDR Panorama I cropped away the blank areas using a panorama ratio.
I needed to darken the sky and so I used a large gradient to do this mainly reducing the shadows.
I then created a second gradient not so large reducing the exposure. These two gradients together create a nice sky that slowly fades to the horizon.
With the brush tool I spent a lot of time removing the first gradient from the buildings. I used auto mask and a low flow closer to the edge to get a natural look.
I corrected the white balance for the whole image using the eye dropper and searching for an area that gave me about 50% in each channel. This ended up being one of the buildings in the background. I also adjusted the curve to create more contrast.
I added a gradient in the foreground to brighten up the shadows that felt too imposing especially on the right of the image.
I needed to do something with the colours, generally I liked them but they weren’t great. I headed to the camera calibration to tweak the overall tone of the image. Mainly I was looking to affect the blues and the yellows.
I had quite a few false starts with this image as I had real problems getting the brush removing what I wanted from the gradient. In the end the answer was reducing the flow in the more complicated areas. Also the white balance looked fine at first except in the buildings, I only twig that in correcting it would help add some colour to this area when I walked away.
The HDR and Panorama work well together. I particularly like Lightroom’s HDR as it creates a really nice image and the ghost reduction is spot on.
I would love to know your thoughts on this image be it positive or negative.
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