Sunrise from a hotel window

One morning last fall I was in a hotel in Oxnard, CA. I had a beautiful view to the east of some mountains (hills perhaps) and a sunrise. I was on the 6th floor which gave me a nice, unobstructed view of the horizon. Had I gone down to the street level, there would have been multiple obstacles cluttering the shot. So, I shot through the glass. Sadly but not unexpectedly, the glass was not clean. Sometimes you have have to take what you can get.

I have three examples of the shot here. The first is straight out of the camera exposing for the brightness of the sky. The second is an HDR manipulation of a single file run through #AuroraHDR. The third was edited to give-up the foreground detail and have a silhouette with the colorful sunrise.

sunrise shot through a hotel window with mountains
This is the original, unedited capture. Larry Shapiro photo

The foreground in the original image has almost no shadow detail. After running the file through Aurora HDR, a tremendous amount of shadow detail was recovered from the RAW file. In this case, it also accentuated the schmootz on the glass.

Sunrise from a hotel window
This image is the result of running the original file through Aurora HDR. Larry Shapiro photo

My feeling is that there was no need to include the foreground detail. There just wasn’t that much interesting detail to begin with. By adding a bit of a glow (NIK ColorEfex Glamour Glow) to the image, the window goop is that much less noticeable.

Sunrise from a hotel window
This file was edited to depict the silhouetted foreground and accentuate the color of the sunrise. Larry Shapiro photo

The ability to retrieve vast amounts of shadow detail from a RAW file can be beneficial in creating beautiful images, but sometimes it’s just as well that the shadows remain dark.