Christmas Light Photos

David Salahi HDR Leave a Comment

Laguna Niguel has some lovely homes and when Christmas comes some homeowners go all out in creating beautiful light displays. Last night I went out and captured a few of my favorites. I processed the first three in HDR Efex Pro and did some retouching in Photoshop.

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HDR processing didn’t work for the next home because it has an animated light display. You can’t bracket in this situation because the lights are continually changing. This particular display is particularly elaborate with a seemingly endless series of computer-controlled sequences. I watched for about 20 minutes and I didn’t see it repeat. There is even a synchronized soundtrack. The homeowners graciously welcome visitors and serve hot apple cider and goodies out on the sidewalk. This home will be a contender on NBC’s show The Great Christmas Light Fight starting on December 9.

I took about 20 shots of this home and each one is unique because of the ever-changing sequences of displays. I could take 100 shots or even 1000 and they would probably all be different. Since HDR processing wouldn’t work I created this image by overlaying two photos using the linear dodge blend mode. For this particular pair of images I dialed back the opacity of the top layer.

For the last photo I started by processing a bracketed series of three shots in HDR Efex Pro. Then, I processed the resulting image in Alien Skin’s brand new Snap Art 4 software. I used the Oil Paint filter and added a subtle vignette. Back in Photoshop I reduced the opacity of the filter layer to 66% to produce the final image.

By the way, I love the new features in Snap Art’s latest upgrade.  Alien Skin has updated it to run faster and they’ve changed the user interface to look a lot like Nik (Google) Software’s UI. It’s an attractive and functional layout and makes it easier to use especially if you’re a Nik user.

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