I like this image a lot. It is impossible and at the same time it conveys what I meant to see. In high-contrast situations like this, one often resorts to HDR, and that’s perfectly OK. With the new version 3.0 of Photomatix Pro it is even feasible to shoot bracketed exposures hand-held, because the automatic alignment algorithm can now cope not only with shift, but also with rotation. That’s all well, but I didn’t bracket in the first place, so all I had when I began post-processing this image, was a single exposure, and on the version from the camera the bicycle had gone almost black.
Well, this is a good example for the leeway we get from using RAW. By combining two different versions from RAW with a PhotoLift layer for enhancement of local contrast, I was able to create a tonally very rich image with a healthy looking histogram. And … hey, it even gives me the feeling that I had when I was there!
That’s what I call success. A successful image is foremost an image that is what I want it to be. You see, my success may not be your success, but that’s fine as well. This is the success of the maker. I make the image, I must have fun with it in the first place, or else there will be no images any more 🙂
But now let’s turn it the other way: What’s your criterion for the success of an image? I mean, for me it’s easy. I have been in the situation, I have taken the exposure, I have processed the image, and thus it is a very tight relation, a very direct experience that makes me like my images or not. You on the other hand have no intrinsic relation to the image at all. If you like it, what makes you like it?