A happy HDR accident

Mount Rushmore

Sometimes things just happen to fall into place and you take a picture for one reason and it becomes something you didn’t expect.

A good example of this is the Feature Image on this post.  A beautiful sunset on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.  Now being a Canadian, Mount Rushmore does not hold the same patriotic charm that it does for Americans, but it does exhibit an amazing level of ingenuity, and it was always something I wanted to see and photograph.

This day we spent most of the day wandering around the monument, photographing it from all sides and angles.  many of those shots are contained in the album of that trip at – http://portz.ca/wp/portfolio-item/black-hills-south-dakota/

As the day came to a close we decided to stay and watch the lighting of the monument show as the sunsets.  I found a great location right at the top of the amphitheater right behind the stone wall so I could set up my tripod and not have it bumped or someone walk in front of my shot.  As the sun was setting, I took a series of bracketed shots of +2 and -2 to gauge my exposures as I was planning to do some manual exposures.  So I set my framing, took the brackets, and then waited for the sun to set and the show to start.  Oddly enough the sunset didn’t seem all the spectacular, and I never thought anything of the brackets I shot until a week or so later when I got home and started going through the shots.

Here is the brackets I got:

Mt. Rushmore Mt. Rushmore Mt. Rushmore

When I brought them up on my MAC in full size, I noticed that the -2 exposure showed some nice color in the bottom left corner, and there was some nice contrast to the clouds, so on a whim I opened up HDRSoft and loaded in the images and ran a quick pass on them.  To my surprise the result was an amazing sunset – much nicer that what I recalled seeing that evening.

I spend some time tweaking the settings, tried to reduce the the halo effect as much as possible, and the result was probably the nicest shot I got all day at the monument.

I guess this result is one of the big reasons I never delete photos in the field, and that I review all my shots even the ones I didn’t think much of at the time.  I really think this shot shows the true majesty of the monument.



Posted by Douglas Portz on October 8, 2013 in Equipment, HDR, Photography, Travel

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