Revisiting Sun Point, Glacier National Park

I’ve been working really hard getting my next eBook ready to go and I’m so excited to release it later this week!

Since I’ve been focussing on the book I haven’t made very many new images lately so I decided to go back and revisit some of the images I made on my North American trip last year.

The first National Park I visited was Glacier National Park in Montana where I made some HDR images at Sun Point. HDR was still pretty new to me but it seemed to be the answer when I visited Sun Point in the middle of the day under the bright sun. But now looking back at the processed image I see some classic HDR mistakes. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of my newly processed image on the left and the old HDR image on the right.

Sun Point Reprocessed Sun Point Original HDR

Now that I have more experience I see two big problems with the image on the right. First, the black clouds don’t look right. Even though they were stormy, gloomy, clouds they seem too black in the image. Second, HDR is supposed to expand the dynamic range of the end product since I made one exposure for the highlights, one for the shadows and one for the mid-tones. But this image looks as if the dynamic range is compressed. Other than the bits of white behind the black clouds, the image doesn’t really contain that much contrast.

I also realize I made a huge mistake when I made my bracketed shots that I didn’t even notice when I processed them. When you make bracketed shots, you need to be in aperture priority mode so that all the brackets contain the same depth of field. I made the mistake of being in shutter priority mode so that each shot was made with a different aperture. Oops!

It’s times like this I am glad I shoot in raw and I hope you do too. Processing images is a constant learning curve. That’s one of the things I like most about photography – there is always more to learn. And, if you shoot in raw, you can go back to the file as it was when it came out of your camera containing all the original data and process it again with your new improved techniques.

I did that with this image of Sun Point and I think the results are much better. This image is not HDR – it is a single bracket.

Sun Point, Glacier National Park, Montana
Please click the image to view a larger version.

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  1. says

    Nice scene Anne. The mistakes that you made are normal, I’ve made a ton of them. The best thing that improved my HDR was taking Trey Ratcliffe’s Webinar. It made quite a difference. I think you can get the same exact course from his site for about $99. Best money I ever spent…
    Len Saltiel recently posted..High Cathedral of Saint PeterMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Len, thanks for the recommendation. I have read Trey’s text version of the course and I have been thinking of doing the video course. I love all of Trey’s stuff so I’ll have to try that out.

  2. says

    This is a great scene, Anne. Tremendous difference from the initial image.

    It is so nice to look back and see how we have progressed in post-processing. I look at some of my early HDRs and, well… 😉

    I agree with Len, Trey’s course is a very good one, I took it as well.
    Jimi Jones recently posted..Blue Street RodMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Jimi, thanks for your comments! I am always amazed at how much difference it makes to go back and re-process and image a year or so later because our techniques improve so much over that amount of time.

    • says

      Hi Edith, I know! I often wonder what I was thinking too especially with HDR images. I seem to be moving more towards natural looking HDR’s all the time. Thanks for your comments.

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