Before and After No 1

The first article in my Before and After series where I will describe how images were created and post processed.

This first image is an HDR image taken at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France.

A little background about the Memorial: (courtesy of Wikipedia)

The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is a memorial site in France dedicated to the memory of Canadian Expeditionary Force members killed during the First World War. It also serves as the place of commemoration for First World War Canadian soldiers killed or presumed dead in France who have no known grave. The monument is the centrepiece of a 250-acre (100 ha) preserved battlefield park that encompasses a portion of the grounds over which the Canadian Corps made their assault during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a military engagement fought as part of the Battle of Arras.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was the first occasion whereupon all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force participated in a battle as a cohesive formation, and thus became a Canadian nationalistic symbol of achievement and sacrifice. In recognition of Canada's war efforts, France granted Canada perpetual use of a portion of land on Vimy Ridge under the understanding that the Canadians use the land to establish a battlefield park and memorial. Wartime tunnels, trenches, craters and unexploded munitions still honeycomb the grounds of the site, which remains largely closed off for public safety. Along with preserved trench lines, there are a number of other memorials and cemeteries contained within the site.

The memorial took monument designer Walter Seymour Allward eleven years to build. King Edward VIII unveiled the memorial on 26 July 1936, in the presence of French President Albert Lebrun, 50,000 or more Canadian and French veterans, and their families. Following an extensive multi-year restoration, Queen Elizabeth II rededicated the memorial on 9 April 2007 during a ceremony commemorating the 90th anniversary of the battle. The memorial site is one of two National Historic Sites of Canada located outside of Canada and is maintained by Veterans Affairs Canada.

About the Photograph:

The day we visited the memorial, it was an overcast day. Fortunately a bright day with a nice soft light that made for little shadows but unfortunately included an uninteresting detailess sky. In order to try create more detail in the sky, thus adding interest, I elected to capture the image for HDR post processing. Using my camera's (Nikon D3) auto bracketing feature, I shot 3 captures (handheld) of 0EV, -1EV, -2EV. I elected to bracket with a bias to under exposure so as to bring out detail in the brights and highlights.

20090923_7928 0 EV.

20090923_7929-1 EV.

20090923_7930 -2 EV.

20090923_7930_HDR HDR Master Image.

Using Lightroom to group my images, I imported them into Photomatix HDR Software via the Lightroom Plug-in where the 3 images were merged into a single HDR image.

Once the HDR Master image was created, it was then fine-tuned in Lightroom to provide colour adjustments to the sky, saturation and colour adjustments to the grounds and then compositional cropping. Final adjustments in Photoshop using the Topaz Adjust and Topaz Detail to improve contrast and details.

The final image:


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