During a leisurely stroll we happened upon this street that honestly did not look very interesting at all. Some old brick buildings flanked a puddled street with a few cars in the distance. This is where you have to see in your minds-eye what is possible!
HOW TO CREATE PHOTO REFLECTIONS
- Puddles are your best friend, even small ones, because they illuminate amazing reflections if you get down close to them on the ground. This was one of those times where I am sure I looked foolish on my belly, positioning my camera on the tripod in front of a puddle that was probably no bigger than a few feet across. But from that vantage point I saw this amazing reflection and knew I could do something with it.
- The scene had a dynamic range of light, meaning that as I exposed for the reflection, other parts of the image were either under or over-exposed. Thus the need for high-dynamic-range (HDR) photography! There are many great tutorials on HDR such as the one by Trey Ratcliff, but it really is not that complicated. You simply take 3-5 shots at different exposures and then combine them using special software so the final image uses the best exposures from each image. Most often, the end product looks nothing like the individual photos!
- Even after I combined all the photos and created a nice HDR image of this shot, it still needed something more to become what I had imagined! To create very dramatic and unusual effects I use Topaz Adjust. It is one of a number of products from Topaz Labs and comes as a plugin for Lightroom. With just a few clicks I experimented with different effects, settling on one that enhanced detail and color to create the final image.