A friend told me:”It’s hard to tell that you’ve recovered overexposure,if I cannot see the original pic!”. Fair enough, he’s kinda right so here are the 3 main stages of my post processing for that picture.
This is one of the 5 images that I took. It’s terribly overexposed and the whole thing is missing most of the detail in the water.
So, my options were:
a) Trash the whole thing
b) Only use the least bad looking picture (-1.33) and process it as a single image.
c) Get e bit creative in post processing.
I opted for option C.
The first thing that I did was to process the whole set in Photomatix Pro trying to squeeze as much detail as possible from those pictures. This is the resulting Hdr:
There’s a slight improvement and tweaking contrast and saturation allowed me to increase the detail in the water, but some areas were still totally white. My first approach had been to use the clone tool in order to recreate the water. I started from the center but I quickly realized that in some areas it would have taken me forever, and I did not like the picture as it was. I really could not stand the completely white areas. So, how do I usually handle stuff that I don’t like in real life? Do I try to fix it? No, I put it inside a bag, throw the bag in a river and throw the river in outer space (at least that’s what I’ve learned from a wise man).
I removed the white. I did not mind the white area on the left, but the central and right one were terrible. So, using Paintshop I carved them out. You can now see the original pic and the final result so it will be easy for you to tell how Paintshop handled it: some areas are slightly squeezed. Since it’s a shot of water, rocks and plants it’s hard to tell that some things have been compressed vertically unless you can see the starting picture. Of course, if there were people or other important features it would have been easy to setup Paintshop in order to maintain some subjects and carve out others, but I did not feel the need to do it in this specific case.
The resulting colors, saturation, contrast etc were easily achieved playing with sliders and a bit of brush work. Next time that I attempt a flowing water pic again I’ll be much more careful on the initial exposure, that will make my life much easier in post processing.