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Viktor Elizarov

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Sunset at the Marina in Winter (Montreal)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/sunset-at-the-marina-in-winter-montreal/

Processing: Digital Blending with Lminosity Masks

Here is my another experiment with luminosity masking technique. In this case I only needed 2 exposures to create final image. I used darkest bracket (-1EV) to recover highlights of the sunset, the area above the horizon

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Viktor Elizarov

Hi! Introduce Yourself :)  - 
Lightroom can be painfully slow, but if you know these small but valuable &qout;helpers&qout;, the sun will shine brighter and your blood pressure will be lower
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Viktor Elizarov

Hi! Introduce Yourself :)  - 
 
Sunset at Garrapata State Park Beach (California)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/sunset-at-garrapata-state-park-beach-california/

HDR Processed: Lightroom, HDR Expose 3, Photoshop
Bracketing: 5 shots (-2; -1; 0, +1; +2)

Garrapata State Park is one of the must-see and must-photograph travel photography locations along California State Route 1.

During my last Big Sur coastal drive in the beginning of February the weather was outstanding. While approaching Garrapata I was sure that luck was on my side this time and I would be able to capture beautiful sunset at the park.

But that was not the case. Just few minutes after I arrived the weather suddenly changed with heavy and cold clouds descended from the mountains, covering entire horizon.

I took featured photo minutes before heavy rain started and chased me from the beach.

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Viktor Elizarov

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Pelican Point at Point Lobos (California)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/pelican-point-at-point-lobos-california/

Another photo from Point Lobos State Reserve in California which is located not far from Monterey and Carmel. The day I took the featured photo I spend an afternoon exploring a southern part of the park. I was shooting from Pelican Point with the partial view of the beautiful Gibson Beach on the left side and with mountains of the Big Sur in the background.

SHOOTING AND PROCESSING

Once again, I took 3 bracketed shots with the intention to merge multiple shots to HDR later in Photoshop but I only needed single RAW file achieve the final result.

For the processing, I used a Lightroom preset based workflow, using Harsh Shadows present from my Landscapes Collection.

Do not forget to download my FREE Lightroom Presets: http://www.phototraces.com/lightroom/free-lightroom-presets

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Viktor Elizarov

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Bonsecours Basin Park in Fall Colors
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/bonsecours-basin-park-in-fall-colors-montreal/

HDR Processed: Lightroom, Photoshop, Photomatix
Bracketing: 3 shots (-2; 0; +2plus2_54
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Viktor Elizarov

Hi! Introduce Yourself :)  - 
 
Toronto Skyline in the Fog (Canada)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/toronto-skyline-in-the-fog-canada/

HDR Processed: Lightroom, Photomatix, Photoshop
Bracketing: 3 shots (-2, 0, +2)

Somehow up until now I did not have any photos of Toronto in my travel photography portfolio even I visit it fairly often. All of my previous trips to Toronto were not not related to photography.

On my last trip I decided to change it and I reserved entire day in my schedule to wander around the city with the camera. But I guess Toronto was not happy with me for ignoring it for so long and threw at me fog, heavy dark clouds, thick haze and later rain. It was probably the worst day of the entire summer for travel photography.

First I wasted at least an hour navigating the maze of construction sites along the waterfront trying to find parking spot. And later I had only an hour at most before heavy rain canceled any photography opportunities.

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Viktor Elizarov

Hi! Introduce Yourself :)  - 
 
Cedar Dunes West Point Lighthouse (Prince Edward Island)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/cedar-dunes-west-point-lighthouse-pei/

HDR Processed: Lightroom, Photoshop HDR Pro, Photoshop
Bracketing: 3 shots ( -1, 0, 1 )

A few weeks back, I featured the Covehead Harbour lighthouse in my blog, which is one of 63 lighthouses located in Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island (PEI). It gave me the idea to dig into my photo archives and see how many lighthouses from PEI I had photographed over the years.

Due to my poor tagging habits in my earlier Lightroom days, this happened to be quite a challenging task. After a few hours of going through my archives, I decided to change the whole approach and started posting photos of PEI lighthouses, one by one, as I found them. Maybe later, I will create a combined post with all of them.

This featured photo is from the Cedar Dunes Provincial Park where the West Point Lighthouse is located.

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Viktor Elizarov

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Conquering Angels Landing in Zion National Park
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/trip-in-pictures/day-2-conquering-angels-landing-in-zion-national-park/

My second day of the trip was entirely dedicated to an exploration of Zion National Park.

The highlight of the day was hiking all the way to the top of the famous Angels Landing trail.

I have visited Zion previously and I knew what to expect and I had all the facts about the trail.

Distance: 5-miles
Average Hiking Time: 5 hours
Difficulty: Strenuous uphill hike.
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Trail Usage: Heavy

Since the average person does not hike with the tripod and does not stop every 100 meters to take photos, I estimated the average travel photographer hiking time to about 7-8 hours.

I also knew that late morning and early afternoon hours in Zion could be very crowded and in general I am not very found of people in my landscapes. Instead of unapologetically removing them from my reality in Photoshop I decided to beat the crowd and start the hike as early as possible.

I was on the very first park’s shuttle bus in the early morning and I started my hike in the very comfortable cool temperature with absolutely no people around.

Shooting

Once again, after analyzing the scene I could see the very bright area of the sky and the deep shadows at the bottom of the canyon. To shoot for HDR was the obvious choice.

I took 3 bracketed shots (-1, 0, +1) on a tripod.

Processing

I keep experimenting with Lightroom 6 new feature – HDR Merge. I like that Lightroom produces HDR file in DNG format which is relatively small. I also appreciate that Lightroom adds “HDR” to the name of newly created DNG file.

I merged 3 bracketed RAW images to HDR using Lightroom 6.

For the processing, I used a Lightroom preset based workflow, using Point Lobos present from my Landscapes Collection (you can always download free lightroom presets).

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Viktor Elizarov

Hi! Introduce Yourself :)  - 
 
Piedras Blancas Light Station (California)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/piedras-blancas-light-station-california/

HDR Processed: Lightroom, Photomatix, Photoshop
Bracketing: 3 shots (-1; 0, +1)

The main attraction of the Piedras Blancas beaches is the Elephant Seals Rookery where you can observe the sea animals at such a proximity that you can actually touch them. If you are lucky enough to drive along the California State Route 1 in January and February, you can see hundreds and hundreds of elephant seal pups.

While most of the tourists spend hours watching the elephant seals, I followed the coastal hikes and tried to find interesting spots for my travel photography. This is one of my favorite views in the vicinity of Piedras Blancas. In this composition, the beautiful rocks illuminated by morning light serve as the main focal element, and light station in the background adds another point of interest.

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Viktor Elizarov

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Unexpected Sunset at Zion National Park (Utah)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/unexpected-sunset-at-zion-national-park-utah/

HDR Processed: Lightroom, Photomatix, Photoshop
Bracketing: 3 shots (-2; 0, +2plus2_54
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About this community

A place for photographers who use and love SmugMug to share tips, find inspiration, and get answers.

Viktor Elizarov

Hi! Introduce Yourself :)  - 
 
Morro Creek Dunes (California)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/morro-creek-dunes-california/

HDR Processed: Lightroom, Photomatix, Photoshop
Bracketing: 5 shots (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2)

I took this photo while looking for a nice and cozy place to have a late-morning picnic around Morro Bay. It was our first day and we were enjoying a Pacific coastal drive along California State Route 1. . It was unusually warm for the end of January and what was even more surprising was the complete lack of wind. Pacific beach in the winter with no wind, go figure.

We were coming from Montaña Oro State Park and I had already taken plenty of photos of Morro Rock from different perspectives, but I could not resist taking some more. I used the beautiful Morro Creek dunes as a foreground element of the composition with the rock as the main attraction. I also loved how morning light gave soft glow to Morro Rock.

When shooting against the sun, I knew that the only way I could pull it off was to use HDR photography processing. processing. I took a sequence of 5 bracketed shots and later processed them for HDR in Photomatix.

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Viktor Elizarov

Hi! Introduce Yourself :)  - 
 
Moonstone Beach Contrasting Colors (California)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/moonstone-beach-contrasting-colors-california/

Processing: Digital Blending with Lminosity Masks
Bracketing: 3 shots (-2, 0, +2 )

I am going through my last year’s photos and they remind me how different and unique California looked last winter because of the record setting drought. The drought was disastrous for the state’s economy and it made landscapes look desert-like with some strong brown and orange hues.

I took this photo after completing Moonstone Beach Boardwalk hike in early evening and I was ready for the golden hour in Moonstone Park. I tried to capture incredible color contrast between blues of the sky and the ocean and golden hues of the shore.

SHOOTING AND PROCESSING

I took 5 bracketed shots on tripod, trying to capture as much information as possible from brightest areas of the sky as well from the darkest areas of the foreground.

I used standard processing technique in Lightroom, Photomatix and Photoshop (check my tutorial Before & After – HDR With Photomatix).

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Viktor Elizarov

Hi! Introduce Yourself :)  - 
 
The White Cliffs of The Grand Staircase (Utah)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/the-white-cliffs-of-the-grand-staircase-utah/

The featured photo perfectly illustrates how the light affects our photography.

The day I took this photo I drove from Knab (Utah) to Zion National Park early in the morning. The sun was rising behind the White Cliffs and they look less than spectacular, just huge grey rocks, nothing more. I did not even bother to stop the car and take a couple of shots.

On the way back from Zion in the late evening, I witnessed completely different landscape. The setting sun illuminated the White Cliffs with the warm evening light and I could swear that was the most beautiful rocks I have ever seen in my life.


Shooting & Processing

I took 3 bracketed exposures (-2, 0 +Hazel Anderson
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Viktor Elizarov

Hi! Introduce Yourself :)  - 
 
The McWay Bay at Sunset (California)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/mcway-bay-at-sunset-california/

Processing: Digital Blending with Lminosity Masks
Bracketing: 3 shots (-1, 0, +1 )

SHOOTING

From the beginning I was planning to use long exposure technique to achieve effect of smooth and silky water. I set lens (sony 10-18) to the smallest possible aperture (f22) but it was not dark enough outside and the longest shutter speed I could get was 1/13. It was not long enough to achieve effect I desired.

The only solution I could see was to use Neutral Density (ND) filter. With 10 stop Hitech ND filter I managed to achieve 6 seconds shutter speed exposure.

PROCESSING

To produced final image, I used 4 photos in total.

First, I blended together 3 bracketed shots (-1, 0, +1) in Photoshop with the help of transparency masks.
When I managed to create balanced image I placed 6 seconds exposure photo on the top layer in Photoshop and masked everything out except the water of the bay.

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Viktor Elizarov

Hi! Introduce Yourself :)  - 
 
Rio De Ca’Tron in Venice (Italy)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/rio-de-catron-in-venice-italy/

This is one of my older photos, the one I took 4 years ago while traveling in Italy. I tried to process it before on the couple of occasions, but I never was happy with the final results. Years later, I decided to give it another try using my new and improved processing techniques.

SHOOTING

It was a middle of September, and Venice was packed with the tourists. Because I did not see any opportunities to use my tripod I left it in the hotel. The entire day I was shooting hand-held, taking 3 bracketed exposures for each composition.

PROCESSING

First, I used the HDR Pro module of Photoshop to merge 3 bracketed shots to HDR (check my free guide “Natural Looking HDR Workflow“).

When new HDR image was saved to Lightroom catalog, I applied Tropical Morning presets from my Landscape Preset Collection and adjusted Exposure using ToolKit adjustments.

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Viktor Elizarov

Hi! Introduce Yourself :)  - 
 
Sunset At South Shore of O’ahu (Hawaii)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/sunset-at-south-shore-of-oahu-hawaii/

I already featured photo I took almost from the exactly the same spot while visiting Hawaii. The big difference though between two shots is the photo below I took at the sunset and the previously published shot was taken at sunrise.

It is not often you came across the place which is perfect for both sunset and sunrise photography. Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail on the O’ahu island of Hawaii is one of those amazing spots.

SHOOTING

This is the extreme example of sunset photography. I was shooting directly into the sun, but it was already partly shielded by the Koko Head Mountain making the shadows of the scene very dark. The light of the scene was very dynamic. When I checked the dynamic range of the HDR image during the processing phase, the value was 19.3 stops.

Here are some dynamic range values for you to compare:

Scene: 19.3 stops
Human eye can see: up to 14 stops of light
Sony a6000 sensor: 11.4 stops
Computer monitor: 8 stops
The human eye is considered to be the best and the most sophisticated optical device, but even a human eye can not see the entire range of the light here.

This was the perfect scenario to use HDR photography and I took 3 bracketed shots with 2EV intervals (-2, 0, +2) Online Job Without Registration Just At........ Earn-yelp.Com
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Viktor Elizarov

Hi! Introduce Yourself :)  - 
 
San Francisco Bay - Point Bonita (California)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/point-bonita-california/

This is one of my old photos I took years back and I re-edited it using the latest tools and techniques.

I took it while visiting San Francisco for the very first time. This the view of Point Bonita from Hawk Hill in Marin Headlands.

Point Bonita is located at the San Francisco Bay entrance and it is a perfect spot to observe the heavy traffic of the bay with the huge cargo ships passing by.

I really like the strong contrast here between the blue color of the ocean, the sky and the colors of the cliffs of the point.

SHOOTING & PROCESSING

I used HDR processing in Lightroom even though the light was not very dynamic and I could cover the entire range by using a single image only. I used the technique to produce the image with more digital information so could push it harder during editing. I described this technique in the case study: The Not-So-Obvious Reason for Using HDR.

After I produced HDR image in DNG format I used Rapid Editing fro Landscapes. I described the process in tutorial Lightroom Rapid Editing System for Landscapes.

First I applied Lightroom preset Natural from my Landscape Collection and later I used TOOLKITt to boost colors and contrast.

In order to improve the composition I changed the aspect ratio from 3×2 to 16×9.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Natural (9, 13, 18, 32)

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Viktor Elizarov

Hi! Introduce Yourself :)  - 
 
Driving Along the South Shore of O’ahu (Hawaii)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/driving-along-south-shore-oahu-hawaii/

The South Shore coastal drive is probably the most scenic drive on Oahu island of Hawaii. The main reason for that is that its views are not obstructed by the trees and it runs very closely to the shore without taking you inland.

During my first visit to O’ahu, I drove along the drive, at least, a few dozen of times because at the end of the drive was located the famous Sandy Beach where I learned how to bodysurf and almost broke my back.

Good times.

SHOOTING & PROCESSING

I noticed this spot the very first time I drove along the South Shore. But for a couple of days, I could not take any pictures there because there was no legal parking around with the busy traffic and police cars always patrolling the popular tourist destination.

The day I took the featured photo, I knew I had only a couple of minutes so I prepared my camera and tripod and kept it unfolded in the car. I parked at the side of the road and took a couple of sets of bracketed shots. Finally, I took 8 individual shots with the goal to create a long exposure effect later in Photoshop.

In 3-4 minutes I was on my way.

First, I applied Lightroom preset Point Lobos from my Landscape Collection and after I used TOOLKIT to boost colors and contrast.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Point Lobos (13, 16, 20, 31)

Next, I took 8 individual shots and using the technique I described in details in Long Exposure Photography Without a Tripod tutorial, I blended them together in Photoshop to create a long exposure effect.

Finally, I combined together the main image I created in the first step with the long exposure image from the second step in Photoshop.

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Viktor Elizarov

Hi! Introduce Yourself :)  - 
 
California Route 1, Big Sur (California)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/california-route-1-big-sur-california/

HDR Processed: Lightroom, Photomatix, Photoshop
Bracketing: 7 shots (-3, -2; -1, 0, +1, +2, +James Harrison
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