A before and after look of Zabriskie Point

So for today’s post I thought I would do something fun. I’ve seen a few photographers post before and after looks of some of their photos on their websites, so I wanted to give that a try to show how one of my own images looked before processing. I decided to go with my photo of Zabriske Point for the “With the end of Blue Hour” post. I thought this would make a good candidate considering the amount of color and details in this photo. Here, take a look:


This is a 3 exposure HDR photo with 2 f-stops between each exposure. Shot with my Nikon D90. The exposure I used as my before example was the -2 f-stop exposure, because I had my exposure meter set to shoot at -4,-2, and 0, so the -2 shot is the middle exposure in this case. And obviously the after shot is the result of merging and post processing all 3 exposures. You can see in the image before post processing how flat and colorless the photo is. There’s potential there but it’s very dull. I could probably have processed the single exposure, but I don’t think I’d be able to get the same result in the colors and details of the landscape that I did here with using the 3 separate exposures. Well, at least not with my level of processing skills.

I merged all 3 exposures into Photomatix to generate my tonemapped image. Once I had that, I loaded that and the original 3 exposures into Photoshop for some layer masking and other processing (not that my workflow is unique, but I’ll do a write-up of my workflow sometime over the next few months for those that are interested). And if you also look at the pre-processed image, you’ll notice that it’s tilted. I didn’t have my spirit bubble fixed on my camera at the time of this shot so I tried to eyeball the level. Thank goodness for Photoshop straightening.

So there it is, a before and after look of one of my personal favorite photos. I may do more of these in the future, and I definitely will if there’s enough interest in these posts. If you’d be interested in seeing more before and after posts, please feel free to leave your comments and thoughts on this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting my world!

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