While not nearly as dramatic an example as my other two HDR projects, I want to share this one for the following reasons:
1 - Handheld exposures
2 - Realistic HDR effect
3 - Use of Lightroom's Upright function
4 - Use of Content Aware FIll after perspective correction
Directly below is the final image. While there is still a slight amount of linear perspective distortion, it is significantly improved when compared to the original exposures (seen lower down in this project. I wanted to maintain a bit of this perspective in order to retain a sense of size and scale.
Below are the four exposures I made, handheld with my new Samyang 14mm f 2.8 lens. FYI, I LOVE this lens. I was very concerned about retaining detail in the clouds, hence the under exposed images. In hindsight, I should have added one more, brighter image to ensure shadow detail.
As per my other HDR shots, I opened these images in Photoshop's HDR Pro tool, letting PS do a very good job of aligning the four images. I saved the image out as a 32-bit file.
Once saved, I went directly to Lightroom to develop the image and correct the perspective.
The next step was to correct the perspective. Lightroom (and Camera RAW) have a new and very useful feature called Upright, that helps to level images and correct perspective. In order to use it you must first enable Lens Profiling. Then you can choose from Automatic, Level, Vertical or Full. I first went through all these presets, but none of them did what I wanted. Either the result was too cropped, or too weird. However, all was not lost, because I also had the option to go fully manual in my correction efforts.
>> I should state that I have used this feature quite often with just the presets, and have been VERY pleased with the result. In this particular case, I think the Samyang lens, height of the tower and low camera viewpoint all conspired to make Lightroom a tad confused. <<
The last major step was to fill in the background areas at the bottom corners. Manually adjusting the perspective is great, but it did leave me with a couple gaping holes on either side of the photo. I did try cropping first, but I was losing too much of the building. Instead, back I went to Photoshop (Edit in > Edit in Photoshop CC)
The Final Work
Below (again) is the final result of my efforts. And I'm pretty happy with it. I love how Lightroom and Photoshop together helped me to realize the vision I had when I captured the image.
For those of you wondering, "How does he remember specific settings like "-80 to Saturation or +100 to Aspect?!?! He must have an amazing memory!" Well, trust me, it's not that I have a good memory. Lightroom keeps a running tally of everything I do in the History panel (below) so at any time, I can go back to a specific change and see exactly what I did.
So that's it for this project. I hope you've gleaned some ideas or techniques that help you better realize your vision after you click the shutter.