The Bright Path
I’ll be honest and say I was going to name this the shining path but I believe that is a Communist militant organization from Peru so bright path it is!
This was taken at Antietam National Battlefield along some path leading up toward the watch down your see in the distance. The sun was up by that point and it was a nice day out. When I was walking up the path I saw this and thought it would be a cool image shooting into the sun. I had no real idea how it would turn out because I was shooting for HDR. Plus I rarely chimp my camera. I either get it or I don’t.
This is clearly a HDR image. I have been using just the -2 and the 0 bracket but those two exposures were too dark. So I included the +2 image and it brought everything up nicely. I then just played with sliders until everything looked good. I then added another layer mask to bring out the details in the grass and path. I also wanted it to feel “warmer” with the glow of the light. Once I had that it was time for some Photoshop magic.
One of the issues was the sky in the HDR conversion was crap. It was some awful muted blue looking thing. So I did a quick edit in Lightroom on my normal exposure and then brought that into Photoshop. Did my normal adjustments. Still the sky wasn’t doing much for me so did a quick filter in Intensify CK and brought out the sky details. Once I had that it was time to combine the two images.
Did a quick alignment of the two images. One of the joys with HDR conversions is that it screws with the alignment of the photos. So even working the with same source image they never line up. So some cropping was required to get things to where I wanted it. It was fine as I wanted the sky anyways and was going to do it in 16×9’ish.
I masked in the sky from the normal image at a low opacity. This kept things looking somewhat normal. It also allowed me to blend everything nicely.
Few more tweaks here and there and I called it done.
PS – No scratch drive crashed so editing was smooth as a babies bottom!