While on another shoot for Rick recently, this one in Garden Hills, I came across a small object that caught me attention as I was about to pack away my gear. This glittering statuette seemed too cool and full of detail to be missed, so I grabbed a few quick shots of it with the 100mm macro as I left. and I had the idea to do two HDRs, one with the Owl in focus, and one with the background in focus, and merge them somehow. These are the preliminary shots:
After making those two HDRs from the two sets of 3 brackets, I took each image into Photoshop, created two layers, and began to selectively adjust opacity and erasing in areas where I wanted to get details back, namely the owl. I left the out of focus trees at about 20% opacity over the fully in focus ones, mostly because it looked “too” fake if I just had crisp focus on both parts. This way I think it looks obviously manipulated, as I like my HDRs, but not completely fake. Looking back, I wish I could have taken a third HDR with the wall behind the owl in focus. It had a great texture and would have helped make the final look a bit less weird, I think, but I dunno… this whole close-up HDR thing is new for me! Anyway, here is what I ended up with. I really like the cobwebs, and I did not notice them at all when I was shooting. I am actually kinda glad about this, as I would probably have removed them before taking the shot.