I was contacted by Peter Grant because he was having some unique issues in blending three photos together. Using the techniques I had shown in previous videos was not going to work with these images.
In this Challenge Azza video I was faced with a couple of issues that I haven’t shown in video before. Peter supplied me with three images all shot 2 stops apart, which meant that we had large gaps in information. Shooting two stops between frames can make blending naturally a little more difficult. I prefer to shoot images with 1 stop difference between frames, which gives me many more options when blending. We can overcome the difference in exposures though by using slightly different techniques.
The two largest issues I faced in this edit were the colour cast caused by the light hitting the mountains. This created a blue cast that didn’t look right when the images were blended. The second issue is the clouds are moving along the ridge lines and didn’t line up between exposures.
Due to the large difference in exposures between the shots, the methodology used for blending was slightly different. Through blending of the middle and dark exposures I’m able to create a well balanced exposure for 95% of the scene. Then using the bright exposures I bring in a little bit of the details from the trees.
The most challenging part of this blend was creating luminosity masks. I ended up using colours to remove areas, and enhance areas in my selections. Curves adjustments were very important in brightening and darkening selections as well. I also use a technique to dodge and burn the luminosity masks to control the more subtle tones that can interfere with adjustments. After creating each of the masks I gently paint in the areas that I want affected.
This tutorial is a great exercise in mask creation and the subtlety of applying those masks to your edit.