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Over the Thanksgiving weekend, being that I am not into Black Friday sales, I had some time to experiment with some different finishes for my images. This shot of two 1941 Cadillac Series 62 sedans was captured at the Antique Car Show at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly, Virginia this past Father’s Day. This is a single RAW capture which I processed three times (-2, 0, & +2EV). I then combined these in Nik Software HDR Efex Pro (If you have not seen the announcement from Google regarding on-going technical support and upgrades please see my previous post – Four Model A Fords).
As with many car shows, it was very difficult to capture any nice images without including some of the other people who were admiring the wonderfully restored vehicles. I decided the easiest way to reduce the pull of the bright clothes and other distractions in the background was to combine the resultant image from HDR Efex Pro with the -2EV version of the original Raw file to darken the background by masking in that section of the image from the dark copy. I also combined the 0EV file masking in the two cars to lessen the effects of the HDR processing and help restore the shine to the beautiful chrome and the black paintwork.
Next, I used the Topaz Simplify Plug-in to further smooth the HDR effects in the paintwork as well as produce the interesting look to the grass in the foreground. I am still trying to understand how this plug-in works but fortunately the presets, with some minor tweaks to the sliders, produced the look I was after.
On returning the image to Lightroom, I added a vignette but this still was not quite enough, so I returned the image to Photoshop and applied the Monday Morning filter from Nik Softwares Color Efex Pro, turning down the layer opacity to about 50% and adding some additional masking using a very light touch with the brush set to 20% opacity.