A conceptual reshoot of Selenium:
but with a different technique and different equipment.
This is another hand-held HDR, believe it or not, at 800mm. Shot at the 400mm end of the 100-400L IS, with a 2x teleconverter - however, on a larger crop factor body (and no crop, unlike the previous photo). I wanted to include some more visual environment, this time. I knew the sharpness wasn't going to be amazing, but I didn't have time to get and set up a tripod before the moon ducked behind cloud; besides, the 2x TC is a cheap one and reduces critical sharpness a good deal anyway. The image stabiliser, combined with some careful balance and elbow bracing, allowed me to shoot a three-shot HDR at -6, -3 and 0 stops, varying the shutter speed from 1/80th, via 1/10th, to almost 1 second, in a rapid 10fps burst.
I wasn't happy with any of the automatic alignment efforts of Hugin and Luminance HDR, and the tonemaps all looked completely crap, so I decided to approach this as a manual HDR with partial duotone instead. I wanted to split the tones into three zones, each occupying a distinct third of the tonal range; the full range of the sky to occupy the lower third only; the moon itself to occupy the upper two thirds, with the craters, seas and lowlands occupying the middle third, and the highlands occupying the uppermost third.
I started by taking the highest exposure, showing the sky, and applying a manual tone curve so that the brightest point of the sky just outside the lunar disc was at 1/3rd luminance value; I then flattened the remainder of that curve so the rest of the disc was no brighter than that 1/3rd grey.
I then layered the darkest -6 underexposed exposure, showing the moon clearly, on top of that - aligned it, and set its mode to additive, so it would build on top of the 1/3rd grey of the disc as its darkest point. I adjusted its curves similarly, this time to scale it to the remaining 2/3rds (the combined result taking up the full luminance gamut), and adjusted the shape of the curve to more distinctly separate the craters and seas of dust from the highlands.
I then experimented with some manual duotones, but in the end felt that the unedited natural slightly warm grey cast of the sky fitted best for the clouds, so I left that - it looked close to a pantone warm grey 5C - so this is actually a full colour image. I applied a pantone cool grey 10C tone to the moon itself only, which seemed to produce a pleasing but subtle colour temperature contrast.
The remainder of the edit was just the usual resize, and selective sharpen in three stages, to bring out the most detail from the moon and try to compensate for the lack of critical sharpness from the crap teleconverter combined with the atmospheric distortion.
Place: 45 out of 55 Avg (all users): 5.0577 Avg (commenters): 4.0000 Avg (participants): 4.8929 Avg (non-participants): 5.2500 Views since voting: 112 Views during voting: 88 Votes: 52 Comments: 2 Favorites: 0
A pleasing image that contributes well to the challenge
Thanks once more for your very detailed and helpful notes that give an insight into your technique and help appreciate the image in a more understanding way, although obviously your voters donít have this same advantage as I do. I donít know how you feel about the end result but I think your commenter has summed it up well really. It is certainly a well executed image in as far as it goes but given the nature of the subject and being a free study it was probably never destined for stardom (pun intended!). I think you probably got more pleasure in rising to the challenge and honing your shooting and processing skills? Thanks for your entry Eugene.