For today I prepared another addition to my processing post series. Today we will take a look at a photo I took in the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. It really is a grand majestic place, just the white wall create a little challenge when editing. But lets take a look at it.
As you can see, the white balance was totally off. I set it for a shot I took before this one, and forgot to change it (that’s why one should always shoot in RAW :)). So in Lightroom I corrected the white balance, removed the chromatic abberation, cropped the image and corrected the lens distortion.
I then exported all the files as 16-bit Tiff files and loaded them into Oloneo Photoengine. After tweaking the strength and contrast, I got quite an even result.
I then loaded all the original exposures and the Photoengine result into Photoshop layers and continued from there. The Photoengine result looked quite ok, but it was not what I wanted. A very classic problem with HDR was visible here, all the white walls just looked grey. My goal in editing was to make them white and shining like the real building. As the walls in the mosque are quite reflective, I wanted to show all the light reflection from them. So in the Photoshop, I did the following (layers numbered from bottom up) :
1. Oloneo Photoengine result
2. +1EV exposure, set to Lighten blending mode. This mode makes this layer replace all the bottom layer pixels, which are darker
3. +2EV exposure, set to Lighten blending mode but only at 40% opacity. I also removed the brightest parts with a layer mask. With this I got the wall looking very bright (exactly as I wanted :))
4. a copy of the HDR Photoengine result, set to soft light. I brushed in only parts, to restore the texture in the floor
5. merged layer, with a strong noise reduction applied to it. Layer mask used to have the effect only on the sky.
6. merged layer, in which I retouched out all the people in the background
7. one more merge where I corrected few areas where the lights were bleeding into the blue sky
8. added linear contrast to the whole photo
9. added saturation to the yellow channel, to make the gold ornaments more prominent
10. color balance to make the whole photo warmer