HDR look tutorial – Southwark Bridge in London

“The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” – Edwin H. Land

As I mentioned in the last post, I’d like to give you a little insight into the image I posted and the path or process I took to get to the end piece. I created a little video below (OK…Its about 15 minutes or so which after I reviewed it, it might actually be 15 minutes too long!), that I think you might like (or not) as I get a little deeper into my thought process.

I usually shoot these types of scenes as a bracked sequence for future importing into Photomatix to create an HDR image. While searching around for an image to work on the other evening, I opened a photoshop file that only had the first 2 images (below) in it as layers. I then thought hmmmm (I do that alot), where is the processed image layer…..I usually save that in the file too.

After a few more seconds of “Hmmmming” and wondering, I though what about taking a different path to try to get a similar result. Below is a few steps of the journey. And like I said, for a little more insight, watch the video. Let me know what you think! I’m working on getting the audio a little sweeter for the next one…..and I’ll try to keep it a weeee bit shorter next time 🙂

Overexposed shot for the sky, but perfect for capturing the detail in the foreground and the bridge steel and texture. This would normally be the last exposure of an HDR bracketed series…..the one with the “blinkies” flashing in the sky.

Underexposed image, but this one has the detail in the sky that I was looking for. Once again, this would normally be the first image in a stack that I create an HDR with. Even though the bridge is in complete shadow, there is detail and information in the sky that we can use!


This image (or image of the layer I had in my photoshop file) was the result of taking the composite layer into a plug in called Topaz. I used the Spicify effect (I think) to bring out all of the detail and give is a “Psuedo HDR” look. They have a fantastic suite of tools at Topaz and I highly recommend checking there plugins out! Click here for more about there products!


 As I mention in the video (you are gonna watch it right?), I decided to tone it down as a final step. I go over this in detail on the video.

There were of course a few more steps along the way and I tried to explain them in the video. Incidently, I did find out the name of the bridge. Its called the Southwark Bridge. Thanks to a Facebook friend (and a quick verification via google). Its amazing….I don’t have to remember any details as I travel…..I can just research them when I return! More time behind the lense I guess 🙂

Like I said, I’d love a little feedback (thats of course if you can get thru it!)

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