Vila Nova de Milfontes - Post Processing / by Dario Branco

It took me three tries to finally achieve a result I liked in the photo I made in Vila Nova de Milfontes.

For me, the main challenge was to blend the sky with the other exposures without creating any weird effects, mostly chromatic aberrations, and aliasing.

I am still learning how to blend several exposures.

My first problem started when taking the photo itself. I don't know if it was because the boat was too dark, if it was because it was too bright, or if the metering when using the viewfinder is not giving me the proper exposure, at least not in the area i want it to meter. Whatever the case may be i was not able to get the proper exposures that i feel i needed.

I tried five and seven exposures and still, i wasn't 100% happy with the results. A few things i was happy about were the highlights from the sun on the boat and the water hitting the boat. It was a game of patience and timing the right moment when the waves were hitting the boat. In some of them, i got lucky.

Now that i know what i wanted and gone over all the photos time to put everything together.

First, the main blend.

To have the boat well define I had to cover the sun from hitting the lens and creating flares. As you can see I did this my using my hand. This will be my base layer. It doesn't have much to it but i can start building from it.

While I was shooting I notice how the sun was illuminating the back part of the boat. I used a diferent exposure so i could have the highlights that i wanted. Then i created a mask on that layer and "deleted" everything i didn't want to show up by painting it black

The next step was the hardest one. Because the sky was so bright it took me some time until I figured how to create a mask which allowed me to blend it with the previous ones. I ended up using a luminosity mask. For now i won't show how i have done it. In the meantime if you want to learn about it check out Jimmy Mctire youtube channel. Even then i had to isolate only the sky and refine even more the luminosity mask.

The next two layers I only wanted to blend the water and the waves. Once again using layer masks. This also allowed me to cover my hand from the previous blend.  Like i mention before, i was timing the waves and the ocean so i could have a more interesting image.

Once I am happy with the blend and how the image is getting together, is time to work on the contrast and color of it. As i said in a previous post, this is very subjective. For this image, I had to try several different settings and chose what it worked best. I mostly focused on the contrast and in the end added a Orton Effect.

I am still trying to figure out what is the best way to create the Orton effect. For this image, I tried to increase the contrstast as much as i could but i usually prefer to add a Gaussian blur and play with the opacity.

And at last the final image.