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CJ Burianek | all galleries >> Photo A Day >> Photo a Day - Year 1 >> July 2005 > 15July05 Old Lighthouse Museum
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15-JUL-2005 CJ Burianek

15July05 Old Lighthouse Museum

Stonington, CT

Photo a Day, Day 108...This is actually 2 photos merged into one... One has the lighthouse drastically underexposed and the other has the clouds really overexposed. Exif is for the properly exposed clouds. Setting for the lighthouse shot are: 1/640s f/8 at 13.0mm iso200. Below are the two shots side by side.

They were not properly aligned at first considering I took them hand held so I had to line them up. I placed the shot on the top right (clouds) on the bottom and the shot on the top left (lighthouse) on the top. Set the lighthouse layer mode to "Difference" the two shots are lined up when the image looks all black (Demonstrated in bottom left image). I then set the lighthouse layer mode to "Linear Burn" this effectively causes everything but the clouds to be black (bottom right image). I then used "Select > Color Range" to select this black area. I then inversed the selection and used it as a mask on the lighthouse layer. Effectively this causes the sky in the lighthouse layer to be masked out (becomes transparent). I then took a brush and touched up the mask.... It might seem like a lot of work but it really didn't take that long though I will fully admit I am a bit of a Photoshop geek... HAD I thought ahead... I should have brought my tripod along for the trip and did a bracketed exposure of the shot. I then could have used Photoshop CS2's new Merge to HDR to create the shot..

Also took a shot of two cormorants on a rock while in Stonington which I should have looked at before posting this one.. oh well...

Adobe Camera Raw, Merged two photos into one, Slight Rotation, Crop, Resize, Frame, SmartSharpen - PhotoshopCS2

Canon EOS 20D ,Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
1/500s f/14.0 at 13.0mm iso200 full exif

other sizes: small medium original auto
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Dominic Kite19-Jul-2005 14:29
Well first of all this is a great pointer to getting past difficult light conditions. The dynamic range of my camera is so poor that this is going to be invaluable. The results speak for themselves. Nicely done!
CJ Burianek16-Jul-2005 20:27
Yes I do shoot in RAW and I looked at trying to do that a while back with a couple shot - however I found that there was still quite a bit of loss/clipping in the extreme highlights and shadows. In the case of the shadow areas, using RAW dialoge to brighten them also brings out ALOT of noise. There is only so much data. From everything I've read, merging shots taken with bracked exposure is the best method. for the highest quality shot. Of course you're supposed to use a tripod when you do it... using a tripod would have made this much easier esp with PS's new Merge to HDR which would have done all the work for me... although their Photomerge is supposed to do all the work for panoramics for you too but I still perfer to fine tune it myself...
Guest 16-Jul-2005 05:37
Well done ... a great idea when lighting conditions are tricky! :)
Robin Reid16-Jul-2005 04:14
Well done and thanks for the info. I've done similar thing often when lighting is difficult. Do ever shoot RAW? It is possible to something like this with one image using different settings in RAW.
Elaine (etfitz)16-Jul-2005 02:01
Wonderful idea to merge the two! Wonderful building!
Guest 16-Jul-2005 01:57
Wow! I like the bright spot in the sky above the light house light.
This is an interesting shot trying to see how you did the merging on it.