Photo Fixes: B-1 Bomber and a Blown-out Background

Scott from Texas sent in this question:

Here is a picture of a B-1 Bomber I took in Amarillo, Texas. My question is: How do I get the detail inside the engines and not have the background concrete and sky be so overexposed? Would HDR be the answer for a photo such as this?

One of our expert sales associates gave Scott three options:

Option 1: Yes, HDR would be a viable option here. If you have the opportunity to photograph this again, shoot 1 and 2/3rds stops overexposed, underexposed, and properly exposed. Then, merge the image with HDR software to get the desired effect. If you do not have the option to shoot this again, you can still get the desired effect if you shot in RAW. Go back open up the RAW file, increase the exposure by 1 and 2/3rds of a stop, save the file under a different name, decrease the exposure by 1 and 2/3rds of a stop, save the file under another unique name and then you have 3 images that are at different exposures. Finally, merge with HDR software and you should have the desired effect.

Option 2: This is only going to work well if you shot in RAW. Take the file into Photoshop, create an curve adjustments layer, drop the curve until you can get detail in the background and then use a mask on the curves layer to bring the details back in the engines.

Option 3: This option is only possible if you have the opportunity to photograph this again. Place one flash unit just inside each of the engines, and one under the engines. Find the exposure of the ambient light in the background and then fire the flash units remotely inside the engines and under the engine to expose fill light on to the area you desire.

Do you have a question about a photo you need to fix? Flummoxed by your gear? Send your questions to michael[at]mpex.com!

Midwest Photo

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