You’re lucky and unlucky if you find yourself at or near the peak of a mountain with not a cloud in sight. Mountains generate their own climate and clouds seem drawn to them like candy floss to a stick. You don’t want to be totally enveloped by mist and be unable to see more than a few feet in front of you. But then again, some white clouds licking the side of the crater, occasionally forcing their way in can be visually spectacular.
We got just the right balance on Sunday up the Nevado de Toluca. Unfortunately I didn’t feel terribly brilliant after the previous days feasting and didn’t get as many shots as I’d liked to have. But I did get one promising photo of some thunderous looking clouds pounding the side of the mountain, looking for a way in. A definite candidate for HDR manipulation.
A proper HDR photograph involves taking three, or more, photos at different exposures and merging them together. The effect can be dramatic. Or suck. My efforts often fit into the latter category. You really do have to pick the subject carefully. Not all photos are ripe for the HDR treatment.
An alternative to the three image HDR is a pseudo-HDR image, which many HDR programs can produce from a single photo. That is normally the route I take. That’s what I did with the photo I took at the Nevado. I tried two different programs – HDR Express (bottom image) and Dynamic Photo HDR (top image).
I got a much better result from Dynamic Photo. HDR Express, at all the setting I experimented with, failed to bring out the clouds quite as well. Instead, I ended up settling for the ‘Vintage HDR’ setting. Which has its charm, but can be reproduced using normal filters pretty easily.