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  • Mt. Pilatus – Sunrise over Lake Lucerne

    View of Lake Lucerne from Mt. Pilatus

    Lake Lucerne and the surrounding landscape is amazing, especially if you are watching it from the highest mountain in the region, Mt. Pilatus at break of dawn.

    This was a challenging photo due to a huge difference in the brightness between the sky and the rest of the scene. To achieve a clean result I took multiple exposures. Here is how it was done:

    Base frame
    Exposed for the sky
    Combined final result

    Post processing

    The base frame which was correctly exposed for the foreground had completely blown out sky which wasn’t recoverable. Another exposure was taken for the sky with the rest of the image being too dark. In order to combine both I used a luminosity mask in Photoshop. This is nothing complicated and in reality it’s just a way to select the brightest part of an image, which in this case is the base frame and use this selection in the underexposed frame to display the sky:

    To create a luminosity mask (without any plugins):

    • Have the base frame visible and the underexposed frame hidden, the luminosity selection only selects what is visible at the time.
    • Go to Channels and CMD+click or CTRL+click on RGB
    • This will create a selection, now you can go back to the Layers tab, select the underexposed layer and apply the mask by clicking on the mask icon.
    • The result will be that the brightest parts of the base frame will be taken from the underexposed frame producing a more balanced image with the recovered sky.

    Blending both exposures is the complicated step here, after that was done that, I did some extra adjustments to the white balance, shadows and highlights and the colors:

    • Camera: Fuji X-T3
    • Lens: Fuji 10-24 f4 @13.2 f11
    • 2 exposures: 2 seconds (sky) & 14 seconds