Limmer’s Workbench   9 comments


Limmer's Workbench

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The main workbench at Limmer & Sons Custom Boots in Intervale, New Hampshire.

You might recall this location from other images, “The Bootmaker”, “They Never Call”, and “Consigned”, among others. Let’s suggest that it’s a target-rich environment for an HDR photographer.

When talking to Pete Limmer last fall, he had mentioned that some of those earlier pictures were “very detailed.” I never really found out if that was a good thing, or not, but for this image I thought I’d hedge my bets by presenting a more realistic, less ‘hyper’ image. In fact, I had processed this scene some time ago and kept it on file, but when I opened it up for review, it was sort of an assault on the eyes. So, I reprocessed it completely to come up with this version.

I’m planning to create a new video tutorial soon, titled something like, “Why Photomatix Pro alone isn’t enough.” Often, when trying to come up with a realistic-looking HDR image, Photomatix falls short for me — I find that the output can often be soft. Other programs such as HDR Expose (from Unified Color) or ImageFuser tend to be better choices, although I almost always wind up blending in some Photomatix versions before doing more detailed processing. For this version, I started with the output from HDR Expose, adjusted it using 32-Float, and then layered in a Photomatix tonemap at 24% Normal and a Shadowmap at 22% Hard Light as a base before setting about with other adjustments (brightness, skew, de-fringe, etc.) and filter techniques (Nik Color Efex Pro.)

In the end, I think it created a balance between the high-detail of a very complicated environment, along with a good dose of realism. I also really appreciate Peter and Ken letting me into the back of the shop during working hours to capture this unique scene.

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9 responses to “Limmer’s Workbench

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  1. That’s a terrific shot Rob. Nicely composed with wonderful textures.

  2. The colours and the detail are remakable. It looks utterly real.

  3. Fantastic shot Rob. I love the detail and colors. I anxiously await your tutorial 🙂

  4. Nice detail and texture Rob

  5. Great image and write up, Rob. I really like this image. Since I usually aim for realistic HDR images, I’ve found that my Nik HDR Efex Pro and Adobe Photoshop workflow gives really nice results. The Nik software can produce a pretty realistic image but Photoshop is always my final “polishing” tool.

  6. Looks really good man. I tend to agree with you in that it’s not enough. I think some images just look better in one or the other programs. I still need to see about ordering some boots from those guys!

  7. This looks awesome man and nice write up. HDR Efex can product some realistic images as well!

  8. Love this, Rob! Fabulous shot, and I just love your blog post!

  9. This is a great image. I really like the detail and color, just the right touch with the processing. I’ll look forward to the tutorial on processing the HDR image.

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