Sometimes I surprise myself with how good a shot turns out? Take this one of Saltburn Pier, it is a hybrid shot of both Long exposure and HDR. When I was taking the shot I had the idea of what I wanted to achieve but it doesn’t always work out. This time it did, and in my mind It is one of my better shots/edits.
Saltburn Pier is a pier located in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Redcar and Cleveland and the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire, England. It is the last pier remaining in Yorkshire ~ Wikipedia
Anyway, I thought I would share with you the steps I took to get to the end result. I won’t go into too much detail, as anything I tell you here, you can easily find on the web if you just search…
Step 1 – Take the shots
For this I needed my HDR shots, as I normally do I took one at 0exp, +2exp, & -2exp. They look like this.
I then processed these in Photomatix how I wanted them, to get my HDR shot. If you want to know more about HDR click here for my short tutorial.
Now I need my Long Exposure shot. For this I use my Lee Big Stopper ND10 filter. This allowed me to take a 80sec exposure of the pier. Here is the shot I got.
Now this is obvious to me, but you have to shoot all of the above shots as close as possible in the same location, i.e. use a tripod and take care not to move when swapping to filter use. Also it will help if you keep the basic settings the same. Focus, and focal length being the really important ones, I also always keep ISO and aperture the same as it is easier.
Step 2 – The magic, merging your shots.
What I wanted to achieve now, was to have the long exposure for the sea and sky, and the HDR for the pier. To do this I used Photoshop. This was my workflow for this.
- Open HDR and Long exposure as layers in Photoshop.
- Align layer using Photoshop’s align tool.
- Make the long exposure frame the top layer.
- Use a layer mask to brush in the pier from the HDR layer, make sure you do this carefully so that you only get what areas you want. I never start with 100% opacity but slowly build it up so it looks more natural. (here is a good tutorial about working with layers and masks)
- Now you have your combined image, so then do whatever you normally do then in post processing.
Step 3 – The Final Image.
So you have done everything as above? Great, I did and this is what I ended up with. I like this one.