Running Ronin

Via Frattina in Rome

I took the above picture in Via Frattina, in Rome, just a short stroll away from the Spanish Steps.
I took the photo with my Nikon D90 - it was actually 3 pics, I took in aperture priority mode (the A on the fun wheel on the left of the camera), with Autobracketing set to
3 pics at a 2. exposure difference.

Above you can see the three pictures that you obtain from autobracketing 3 shots on the 3 different exposure levels. This is done using a tripod (I use a very portable Manfrotto, I can open/setup in less than 20 seconds).

Unfortunately people tend to move! But that is actually what I like most of some photos, the energy of people against beautiful backgrounds.

Next step was to "HDR" the 3 pics using Photomatix Pro - see the below image.

This takes us to the issue of the moving people. As you can see photomatix has created an interesting picture, but the moving targets have made it a bit difficult for the software to avoid some ghosting effects. This is where using Photoshop comes in handy. By layering the output of Photomatix with the picture that I thought was best fit from the original 3 (actually the 3rd) I used masking to "peel" the HDR image till the bottom peoplke showed up. See Stuck in Customs for a great tutorial.

I also used the darkest image to layer in the best representation of the sky - since Photomatix makes skies look often funky after the HDR process.

The output of layering is below.

See the sky - how it looks more natural now? And how the people have lost their ghost? Also, notice I cropped the picture a bit.

The last step is to enhance details and give the picture some pop. A lot of my friends say I exceed here... But I like to notice details and colors I normally would not. To do this I use Topaz Adjust. Below is the final output - which is the same picture we saw at the top of this post - hope you like it :)

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