Recent Work- Hilite Recovery

Photographic technology is nothing short of amazing. But with great power comes great responsibility. Or something like that. Wait, did I really just quote a superhero movie?

My point is that you can achieve some incredible results not only with your camera but in post production as well. But it doesn’t always mean you should. Case in point for me has to do with the “latitude” of digital photography. That is to say, how bright your camera can see vs how dark. There are a lot of people who see blown hilites as completely unnecessary and downright sacrilege. I am not one of those people. I have no issue with underexposing some parts of the image and if some hilites go off the scale, hey, that’s life.

Now, that being said, I did a little work on a recent image I made. It started out of curiosity after I was speaking with Chris Marquardt the other day and I showed him this shot. I went into a little rant about how I did not care about the overexposed bits and while I could probably pull some back because I shot it in RAW I didn’t feel I needed to and BLAH BLAH BLAH. Chris agreed wholeheartedly but I got the feeling he was just being nice as anyone who has met him knows he is a good guy. So I got to work.

I went back into Aperture and brought back the overexposed bits. However, I made the decision that I did not want to bring it all back. For instance, the sky should stay where it is. But what if I recovered the reflection in the pavement? There are probably better ways to do this but here’s what I did- brought the new image into photoshop and laid it over top of the original and then just erased the parts I didn’t want from the new layer. The end effect is that most of the picture is untouched except for the reflection.

Here are the two images together in an “After and Before”. Which image do you prefer? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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2 thoughts on “Recent Work- Hilite Recovery

  1. I’d have to say I like the “after” image better because of the recovered detail in the reflection. I don’t find the blown out highlights in the original exposure objectionable since the puddle is not the primary subject of the image.

  2. The before works for me. It seems to have more feeling. It pulls me in as if I was there. The after is just a picture.

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