I’ve got to say about tone-mapping “you either like it or you don’t”. But, whatever you might say, tone mapping does allow you to make something from nothing….consider the following image:
It’s an interesting subject on a rather poor day and it might suffice to say “you need to go back when the weather is better”!!! That might be possible in time but it will be another year before I can go back to the Isle of Man, so I wanted to make the most of what I captured on the day.
The image above is the “correctly exposed” picture – the unadjusted RAW file from my Pentax K7D…rather flat and dull. In theory, it’s a low contrast scene, so shouldn’t really need an HDR treatment, but I was concerned to keep all the detail in the sky and in the unlit side of the building so, on the day, I had bracketed three shots, 2 stops apart. Merging the three into a high dynamic range file and then tone mapping it achieved the image below:
That’s much closer to what I wanted but I also wanted to interpret the image a little more, so I blended in some blur on a layer, increased the contrast a little, burned and dodged in a few places and then added a gentle vignette:
That’s more what I’m after – love it or hate it…that’s tone mapping.