Let me show you the world in my eyes

This is a view typically not associated with Amsterdam Centraal Station, but it is located in the back of the iconic station where the local bus lines operate from. Taken almost to the day one year ago during some intense fog we had in Amsterdam. This is actually a re-processed version from a a series of photographs I made last year that can be seen on Google+. I typically avoid going back to images I have already made, and tweaking them further much less create new versions, but I’m glad I did with this one, for a couple of reasons.

The first reason, is that this image is actually an HDR photograph. I’ve been playing around with Lightroom 4’s 32bit support, and this is the first result that I’m pretty happy with. Basically, with Lightroom 4, you can take a 32bit image and process it just as if it was a regular image. If you have done HDR work before, you may know that (and it depends on the software) there is usually an intermediate 32bit image that you must convert to 16bit’s before you can actually work with it. Well, not anymore with Lightroom 4 (and likely CameraRaw since it is the same engine). You can import this image directly into Lightroom and use the typical Develop Panel tools and settings to process the image. This seems to have a few advantages. The workflow is simplified (somewhat…) and you have a LOT more headroom when processing the image in Lightroom  For example the main Exposure dial goes from -10 to +10 instead of -5 to +5. Shadow’s for example go all the way to 100. It is also true for the local tools such as brushes and gradients. In all, you get a much cleaner and much more control over the processing that you typically would have with a regular HDR image.

The workflow for this image, was as follows:

  • Perform global Lightroom tweaks in the 3 bracketed images (Noise Reduction, Lens Correction and White Balance)
  • Export to Photomatix, and ensuring that the checkbox to show 32bit intermediate image is on (and whatever else you need)
  • Once the 32bit image is shown, to go File and Save As. Here choose 32bit floating point tiff, and check “Open with Lightroom”

The last bit is what makes the workflow somewhat easier, as it automatically opens the Import Dialog in Lightroom, where you can import your 32bit file. Once there, process as usual. You’ll notice that you have much more dynamic range in your image that you can push, and you also get a much more natural result.

The last step for this image, was a quick trip into Photoshop for some High Pass sharpening, toning, crop and to add the black cinematic bars.

The second reason why I reprocessed this image, is that I’m much more pleased with how it turned out by having spent much more time having a specific look. As for the title, I’ve been listening to a lot of Depeche Mode 🙂

Hope you like it, and if you are interested, be sure to try out the 32bit processing in Lightroom and ask me questions. I’ll be working on a couple more.