Let’s look today on one of my recent photos and how it was edited. This time it’s this late night panorama taken in Prague by the Charles bridge. This was a two tile panorama which I took without the help of a panorama head. Actually a lot of my panoramas are done this way. If you are far enough from the subject, and you are using a longer focal length, you don’t really need a panorama head. The stitching software is intelligent enough to work with the small amount of paralax effect you will get.

Late night at the Charles bridge

Here you can see bigger versions of the middle exposures I used.

Late night at the Charles bridge
Late night at the Charles bridge

Overall I used 10 exposure, I went from -2 to +2EV, as there were some quite dark areas, and also few very bright lights.
Late night at the Charles bridge
I started in Lightroom, where I only removed the chromatic aberrations, lens distortions and vignetting and corrected a little the white balance (it was too much towards red). From there I exported everything as 16-bit tiffs and loaded them into PTgui. For a detailed process how I combine shots there, check out the specific tutorial on creating HDR panoramas.
Late night at the Charles bridge
I continued in Oloneo Photoengine. As always, I just added a bit of strength, until I get a nice even exposure, from which I could start with. Setting of around 50 works the best usually. Same here. To continue I loaded everything into Photoshop and continued with the following edits (layers numbered from bottom up):

1. Oloneo Photoengine result
2. Painted in the +1EV into the water, to remove the blend of the moving lights
3. Merged copy, where I filled in few areas around the corners, that were empty form the panorama blend
4. Darkened the bright lights from the -1EV exposure.
5. Brightened part of the reflection, to make it more visible
6. Retouched out all the people on the bridge
7. Corrected a stray light on the bridge
8. Few more bright spots corrected from the -2EV
9. The tower in the back lost all the contrast in the blend, so I recovered it from the 0EV exposure
10. Color Efex tonal contrast, with settings 10, 15, 10 and 10. These are my most used settings for this plugin
11+12. Curves and color balance, to correct the uneven brightness and color of the photo. I made the right part darker and more saturated.

Late night at the Charles bridge

And that’s all I did with this image. To find out more on how I edit, check out the guides and before after categories on this blog, or check out my video tutorial series here:
Master exposure blending