I have tackled this exercise in two ways, the first was to use several images of the same subject to add detail to the sky and sea the second was to utterly restructure the image.
Here is our base Raw file:
The first task was to take three images 2 stops apart so -2, 0 and +2
The Base HDR Images
In this example I have take three images separated by 2 stops so that every element of the image is in the dynamic range somewhere.
These images were then fed into my NiK HDR software to combine them in to one high dynamic range image:
The result is an image that is clearly an HDR image, it has some tell tail traits, I am not keen on the way there are halos and the treatment of structure. Some images work exceptionally well others don’t.
Method 2 Really Letting Go of All Limitations
Ok so if I now impose no limitation on what is allowed and what is not what can we do to this image?
Step 9 The final image
In the final image I used Vivasa which is one of the Nix tools for adjusting colour images, it allows you to stack a number of filters, fo this I added a colour contrast filter just to give the image more impact I was quite pleased with the final result.
I waded right out into the mainstream of photo interference here, no one can say the image reflects reality. I did an experiment with it to see how it was received by the public, I put it on Pixoto and Gurushots and entered several of the competitions, it got lots of votes it won lots of duels, so people obviously liked it. I cant tell if they think I was so lucky to be there on such a cloudy day with the perfect reflection, or if they think its a good bit of photoshop, I can tell I wonder what percentage of the population can.
In the end again I conclude it does not really matter if you like the image, at the end of the day we create images for people to enjoy, well some of us do some just want to shock and I suppose a great spectrum of other reasons.
I still have no moral dilemma Photoshopping the hell out of an image!