“Winter Tree” was my first real attempt at creative processing, rather than just using Photomatix to make a shot look extravagantly real (I was going to put “hyperreal” here but I couldn’t bring myself to do it). The initial version was an accident – one of those rare “I wonder what happens if I…” experiments that gives a pleasing result. Unfortunately though my inexperience at the time though led me to overlooking some serious flaws with the original image – the contrast was all wrong and the image was noisy.
The poor contrast in the original version was due to my monitor being poorly set up – it was far too dark – and whilst the noise level isn’t that obvious in the version elsewhere on this site (http://www.andystafford.co.uk/winter-tree/) it is painfully apparent on the large version available on Flickr (http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3340/3194854394_305882a0a9_o.jpg).
Why was the image noisy? Because my Microsmoothing setting in Photomatix was too low (0). It made the clouds look more dramatic but I didn’t see how badly it was affecting the quality of the image as I neglected to look at it at full size.
If I was ever going to make this image available as a print I knew I was going to have to go back to the original raw files and reprocess it. Details of this process can be found here http://www.andystafford.co.uk/winter-tree-and-photomatix/
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