LAST LIGHT ON THE PATRIARCHS: ZION

 
 Hand-blend of 2 Nikon D700 Exposures. Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 lens. (Click to view fullscreen)

Hand-blend of 2 Nikon D700 Exposures. Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 lens. (Click to view fullscreen)

It’s been largely grey and overcast. Hurrying down toward camp I notice the clouds breaking up and some light starting to break through just in time for sunset. Forget camp! I run to get back above the trees for a view of the Patriarchs. It paid off...

Some friends and I are planning a spring trip into the Desert Southwest next month. I can’t wait! Going back through my images from there, I came upon this previously unedited gem.

There was a ton of contrast in this scene so I bracketed the exposure with the Nikon D700 I was shooting with at the time. Using Lightroom and Onone, Inc.'s Perfect Photo Suite I brought the two exposures together. I first did my RAW Adjustments in Adobe's Lightroom 5. I developed the less exposed frame for the sky and light on the peaks and the more exposed frame for the trees and shadows. See below.

 Less exposed RAW image

Less exposed RAW image

 More exposed RAW image

More exposed RAW image

After a bit of noise reduction and sharpening, I opened the two images as layers in On1's  Perfect Layers 9.5 (yes, it's a prerelease beta and it rocks!) and brushed the two images together with the masking brush. I've been loving my new Wacom Intuos Pro pressure sensitive tablet for this kind of brushwork and it integrates perfectly with On1 as well as Lightroom. As usual I finished the image in On1's Perfect effects 9.5. 

I don't know how I didn't get around to editing this image earlier, but I'm really glad to have all these amazing tools at my disposal to do it with now.

-Hudson