Inside the stunning sanctuary of Notre Dame Cathedral in Montreal, there’s a lesser known private chapel in the back right corner that I knew about from a previous visit. At the front there’s an amazing floor to ceiling sculpture. They say that even seeing just a photo of this moving work has been known to calm crying babes, warm Scroogey hearts and lower LDL cholesterol. (Scroogey: Scrooge-like. Now you know.) Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait for that revelatory moment since this post features a photo of the back of the chapel.
Below I’ve outlined my workflow for creating this HDR photo for the more curious HDR photography enthusiasts out there. One thing I’ve been working hard at with my HDR photography is to control the glow-y effect that tone mapping in Photomatix creates. I’ve learned that this happens for a number of reasons as Photomatix spreads out the luminescence of the composite 32-bit TIFF it creates. With this in mind, I’ve tried to ease up on the luminescence slider and tend to keep it between -2 and 6. When things start to look to ambient, I pull back and start adjusting the white point slider.
Original Bracketed Photo vs. Final HDR Photo
STEP 1) Bracketed Photos Tone Mapped in Photomatix
(For a good time, click images to enlarge then use your ↞/→ keys.)
STEP 2) Blend Tone Mapped Image with Originals in Photoshop
Trey Ratcliff likes to merge layers as he masks and blends, but this linear irreversible workflow freaks me out. For this reason I like to combine my layers into nested groups with masks as I go. Although it’s very possible to accomplish the same results without groups, as I’m editing, they help me stay mentally organized and clear up confusion about which layers I’m masking.