Desert Cactus – Working Files to Completion
As I wasn’t having a ton of luck getting images from the driveway due to mobility issues I decided to go back into my archives and see if there were any images which I hadn’t processed. I found this desert cactus on a side road in Phoenix. A saguaro cactus is an iconic object screaming “DESERT!” in my mind. Last January as I was heading out of town for a speaking engagement I was watching this scene develop and pulled to the side of the road to explore possibilities.
Here is the original five stop bracket. It was a bit overcast, so I probably could have made three exposures and been OK, but I like to err on the side of caution to have more information rather than coming up short.
These five images were fed into Aurora HDR 2018 **. I’ve found Aurora to be a solid performer in creating natural looking HDR images without much ghosting or obvious ‘HDR LOOK’ for images that become overcooked.
With a small amount of dodging and burning and a Curves ayer cleaned the image up nicely. I often use a Photoshop Layer in Soft Light Mode to Dodge and Burn. Painting with black will darken and painting with white will lighten. I use my brushes at a very low opacity and build up or knock down density to avoid seeing the brush strokes.
Here’s the final image after a stop in Luminar 2018** for some finishing touches and enhancements.
I hope some of these steps will give you some ideas for processing your images. If you have any questions or would like me to address a particular type of image processing, let me know.
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob
** Use Coupon Code – COATES – to receive $10 off on the software programs