Revisiting & Reprocessing Old HDR
It was only seven years ago when I took this photo, one that has always been one of my favorites. It’s of Kermit Week’s P-51C Red Tail, “Ina the Macon Belle,” a photo I took great care to set up for the light for the ground fog. Now I wish I had written down all I was seeing when I took the photo because that so influences all I do. I know I wanted indirect light on the fuselage so there was no specular highlights. I wanted the background hangar to just have a kiss of light and wanted less tarmac. And for some reason, I felt I needed to shoot a five frame HDR and finish it with those five images in post to get my final photo (what you see below). I have the feeling it was because of the black reflection and shadow under the wings. Well, for seven years the bottom photo represented my efforts and was a favorite of mine.
Then yesterday we had a print donation request for this image. I opened the file up and I was immediately struck by the one aspect of it I’ve never liked, and that’s the blue color cast in the fuselage and the blacktop. Since the file opened up without it’s Smart Object, I knew it was an HDR so I went back to the files, opened the middle image in the HDR set to the “normal” exposure in ACR and finished it as I finish all my images these days and low and behold, not only was the file much cleaner, the blue color cast is gone! The warmth of the Florida sun is now part of the light and the fuselage shines like never before. With the success of this one reprocessing of a file, I’ve gone to a dozen of other images taken that year as HDR (aviation and landscape) and done the same thing finding in my photos, “diamonds in the rough” liking all the new images over the original HDR. So for me personally, it just affirms my own personal belief that getting it right, right in the camera opens the door to all sorts great quality, even seven years after the original click.